For the first time, Walmart workers here in Oregon walked out on strike over Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Three workers at the Walmart in Klamath Falls walked out on Wednesday, and members of the community came out to the store to support them.
After Wednesday’s rally at their own store, the workers traveled to Medford and Portland where they participated in community rallies in support of them, and against Walmart’s unfair labor practices.
Here in Portland, the striking workers and a small group of supporters delivered a letter to the store’s management. The letter demands that the company end its illegal efforts to silence workers who are standing up for better jobs at the mega-retailer.
At one point, another small group of people marched through the store chanting “What are we gonna do? Fight For $15!” Outside the store, hundreds of supporters – including local residents, concerned taxpayers and community leaders – rallied and called on Walmart and its owners, the Waltons, to stop hurting families and commit to raise pay to a minimum of $15/hr and provide consistent, full-time work.
Speakers at the rally included the striking workers as well as representatives from Portland Jobs with Justice, 15 Now PDX, UFCW, and Oregon AFL-CIO. The speakers thanked the striking workers for their courage and determination, encouraged the community to stand behind them and fight with them, vowed to win $15 for all of Oregon, and drew parallels between the systemic problems of poverty, racism, and police violence.
Across the country, tens of thousands of people and thousands of Walmart workers from over 2,200 Walmart stores, including stores all over Oregon, have signed a petition demanding that Walmart raise wages to a minimum of $15/hr and give workers access to full-time hours. Nationwide, workers and supporters planned and engaged in 1,600 strikes and protests at Walmart stores on Black Friday.