How to help Wal-Mart workers: “Just not shopping there isn’t enough. Picket.”

Overpass Light Brigade holds light-up letters that spell "Respect the workers" in front of a Kenosha, Wisconsin Walmart. November 22, 2012

Please read this note from Jason Valentine. He lives in a part of Wisconsin where there are no buses and very few options for jobs. When we discussed his note he said, “It’s like slavery. You can’t break your own chains because you have no leverage.”

My son is a Wal-Mart checker in Wisconsin. We live in a rural area and the Wal-Mart is 23 minutes away.

This winter it was particularly bad driving. We are not rich. I work a gas station and we both work part-time jobs besides.

That’s over 50 hours a week. My son missed 6 days since December. Wal-Mart just gave him a raise, bringing his wages up to 9.04 an hour…but decided that those 5 days merited disciplinary action so they “demoted” him to part-time, which he was working only part-time hours anyway, which resulted in him losing his vision and dental coverage.

When he reduced his hours from full-time to part-time..from 40 to 30 a week last October (so that we could take on a second job and get a second, more reliable car) he was told after he dropped his hours he would never be eligible for full time again. “Company policy”.

Don’t boycott Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart bases the hours it gives employees on sales at each store. If you want to change WalMart, picket. If the workers do anything they get hurt. If you boycott, you hurt the workers. Just not shopping there isn’t enough. Picket.

In a rural area like this jobs aren’t easy. A young man without a college education ends up doing bull work, temp work in construction. My son does not have that kind of skill set. Most of the clerical, cashiering jobs go to females.

College is another hard one. It takes nearly three incomes for us to make it and my health isn’t the greatest. Picket and protest Wal-Mart. The employees can’t throw themselves on the grenade for the most part. Poverty does that to you. Those who can, if you believe, must do for those who can’t.

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