Strikers in 100 cities across the nation protested against Walmart over the weekend, fighting for better pay, better work schedules and affordable healthcare. But Walmart strikers are not the only ones pushing back against one of the world's largest retailers. An Arizona Catholic charity has denied a donation from Walmart, claiming it is "blood money."
Brian Flagg, overseer of Tucson-based Catholic charity Casa Maria Free Kitchen, has rejected a $2,000 donation from Walmart that was offered after the corporation opened a new location in the area, the Arizona Daily Star reports.
"We feel that even though Walmart has low prices, they pay lousy wages, they're anti-union and they have a detrimental effect on the survival of small businesses," Flagg told the newspaper.
Casa Maria Free Kitchen was one of several charities chosen to split a $15,000 donation from Walmart after the corporation opened a new Tucson store. A spokeswoman from Walmart responded to the charity rejecting the $2,000 donation in a statement to the Arizona Daily Star:
Walmart has a long history of supporting Tucson nonprofits. Since 2009, Walmart has donated more than $345,000 to local Tucson organizations that are supporting the community's needs, including Catholic Community Services/Pio Decimo Center, The Community Food Bank and the Salvation Army of Tucson. Our pay and benefits typically meet or exceed what's offered by the majority of our competitors; we promote from within, our turnover rate is below the industry average and our associates' satisfaction scores have trended higher over the past few years.
Walmart has been criticized for hurting small businesses in local communities across the U.S., Raw Story notes. Gripes against the company include paying employees minimum wage, offering inadequate benefits, withholding overtime pay and overlooking workers for raises.
On Black Friday, Walmart strikers took to the streets to protest for employee rights. "This is the way you get a fair shake. You've got to fight for it. You've always had to," one protester told the Associated Press.
The Casa Maria Free Kitchen is part of the Casa Maria Catholic Workers Community, a movement founded in 1930 in New York City by workers who are "devoted to acts of mercy (feeding and clothing those in need, visiting the ill, etc), voluntary poverty, pacifism, and the search of justice for the poor," according to a mission statement. A 2011 newsletter says the Free Kitchen serves about 500 bag lunches and 150 family food bags each day.
[h/t Raw Story for the find.]