This season I am thankful for my seven years of employment at Walmart in Miami because so many other friends can't find work. But I am more thankful for all of my fellow co-workers who have made the hard decision to stand up for our rights and join me on strike on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. We want all of the people we serve in Walmart stores everyday to understand why we are taking such bold measures so that they may support our fight for a better company, community and country for all of us.
Many of us recently voted to move our country forward. We say we want more people to have opportunity for middle class living. To do so, we must respect every person that contributes to the great success of companies like The Walmart Empire. If you have ever worked for the company or talked to someone who has, you will hear the laundry list of things that need improvement. The lack of respect and dignity for workers is one thing. But there is a greater monster lurking in the stacks of low prices. According to one Walmart employee, 80 percent of us workers must rely on the government to survive, in the form of food stamps, public housing, Medicare and Medicaid. None of us wake up in the morning to go to work expecting to rely on the government for anything, but we have no choice.
For example, I make just $1,400 a month but my mortgage is $1,100 a month. I have a wife and children that I can barely support after paying my bills. I work so much that I don't have much time to spend with them. But that doesn't stop Walmart from telling us to come into work in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner to prepare for Black Friday.
If the Walton family is one of the richest families in the world, then why do so many people working for them live in poverty? If they became prosperous by working together as a family, then why do they insist on cutting into our family time on Thanksgiving? Well, I refuse and my coworkers refuse to first be subject to disrespect and unfair practices at work and then be told that we can't give thanks for the little we have at home while our executives are giving thanks for their excessive riches.
If we are to create middle class jobs in this country, we must do it where the profit margins say it can be done. Our CEO has been said to make close to my yearly salary in just one hour. He is not that much a greater man than me. His family needs no more or less food than mine. If we want better futures, we have to take action to achieve it. Please hear my story, please support me and my co-workers as we go on strike. If you do go to the store and see us walking out, please know it is with good intentions for better future for all of us. This holiday season, show you believe in family and support the striking Walmart workers.