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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Peninsula | Labor & Workers
Obama Greeter-Labor Community Protest At Pres Obama's Visit To Mountain View Walmart
Workers and community members protested the visit of President Obama to the Mountain View Walmart on May 9, 2014.
Obama was helping to do publicity and advertising for Walmart about their good work in Mountain View.
Walmart Foundation head Sylvia Mathews Burwell to direct the Office of Management and Budget
Obama Appoints Burwell, Wal-Mart Foundation President, to Direct OMB
Posted on March 5, 2013 by Ashley Wright •
Obama has a history of appointing business leaders that come from companies withquestionable labor practices. And his recent nomination of Sylvia Matthews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation, as the director of the Office of Management and Budget seems in keeping with this legacy.
Should the nomination carry, Burwell will take a position that has substantial influence on policy, the office itself having the power to block federal regulations. This begs the question: will her appointment have the potential for a conflict of influence on federal policy? Walmart has attempted to influence the OMB throughout Obama’s administration, including an attempt to block a Department of Labor rule governing employee benefit plans proposed three years ago.
The previously appointed OMB director, Jack Lew, served as chief operating officer of New York University, which took away organizing rights from its graduate student employees. He was promoted to White House Chief of Staff and is now Obama’s Treasury Secretary nominee.
During his first term, Obama also chose members of Boeing’s board as commerce secretary, chief of staff, and export council chair after his own appointed officials at the National Labor Relations Board pursued investigations against the company for allegedly punishing strikers.
In addition to being troubling, the nominations are slow coming—especially for federal judiciary positions during Obama’s first term— something Republicans and some Democrats have criticized him for. Yet 2013 seems promising so far—he’s made three dozen candidates since January and is expected to name more over the next few months.
But, the lack of speed of the appointments has only been exaggerated by the lack of reform regarding the filibuster. And, the judiciary is suffering from both the lack of nominations and the blocking of the ones that are coming. According to a recent report from the Constitutional Accountability Center in Washington, the federal judiciary has had more than 750 days with at least 80 vacancies on the bench.
Ashley Wright is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.
Civil rights leaders demand Walmart’s foundation cut ties with ALEC
July 20, 2012
Washington – National civil rights leaders have signed a letter calling on the Walton Family Foundation to follow in Walmart’s footsteps and end their ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and specifically voice their opposition to “Stand Your Ground” and voter suppression laws. The leaders, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Jeremiah Wright and Danny Glover, write that they are appalled that despite Walmart’s and the Walton Family’s attempts to create an image of supporting civil rights and community and civic participation, both the retail giant and the foundation have given more than $1 million to politicians with close ties to ALEC and its agenda.
“We are disturbed that, despite your company’s claim to support civil rights, you are funding an organization that has helped propel serious attacks on our communities,” says the letter.
ALEC describes itself as a nonpartisan organization of over 2,000 state legislators that favors “conservative public policy solutions.” Opponents describe it as “the ultimate smoke filled back room,” where the Koch Brothers, big tobacco, insurance companies and the drug industry pay a king’s ransom for access to the legislators to sell them on model legislation that puts their corporate interests over American workers and consumers.
RallA coalition of advocacy organizations, activists and national leaders protest the paid promotion by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) of deadly “Kill at Will” – or “Stand Your Ground” – legislation written by the National Rifle Association (NRA). They delivered a letter to ALEC headquarters in Washington, D.C., demanding that the group disclose all NRA funding and publicly pledge to end its promotion of “Kill at Will” bills
Civil rights leaders write that they are angered by the Walton Family Foundation’s support of ALEC’s agenda, including “Stand Your Ground” laws. They are also troubled by the fact that a Walmart executive co-chaired the ALEC task force that endorsed the “Stand Your Ground” law.
The letter states: “As the largest seller of guns and ammunition in the country, Walmart and your family may be blinded to the impact of guns and pro-gun laws on our nation and in our communities. The impact is very real.”
Leaders also address their concern about ALEC’s role in promoting voter suppression laws. The letter notes that supporters of voter suppression laws claim that they want to reduce voter fraud such as individuals voting illegally or voting twice. However, the letter points out that such fraud almost never occurs and never in amounts large enough to affect the results of elections.
The letter further states: “Voter suppression laws prevent large numbers of eligible voters from casting a ballot and could disenfranchise as many as 5 million people. And it is clear that these laws have the effect of disproportionately disenfranchising the low-income voters, people of color and the elderly. This runs counter to the Walton Family Foundation’s stated goal to increase opportunity and improve the lives of others.”
Making Change at Walmart is a campaign challenging Walmart to help rebuild our economy and strengthen working families. Anchored by UFCW, representing mainly food industry workers, we are a coalition of Walmart associates, union members, small business owners, religious leaders, women advocacy groups, multi-ethnic coalitions, elected officials and ordinary citizens who believe that changing Walmart is vital for the future of our country.
The Walmart Walton family owns more than millions of working people. In Silicon Valley workers cannot afford to live in the valley even on union wages.
Protesters said Walmart does not value the labor of it's workers
Walmart marched their workers into the store to see Obama.
Benjamin Field, the South Bay Labor Council Executive Director spoke.
Walmart protest called for the wealth being shared with all.
Hundreds of Walmart workers, trade unionists, students and community residents protested the visit of President Obama to the Mountain View Walmart in Silicon Valley. Fired Walmart workers also talked about discrimination they face
Walmart workers, trade unionists, students and community members
protested the visit of President Obama on May 9, 2014 to the
Mountain View Walmart store in Silicon Valley. Trade unionists said
it was like a slap in the face for Walmart to do PR for this company.
Many participants said Walmart is not paying living wages and
also uses public subsidies to pay for the workers since they are
not being paid living wages.
Many minimum wage workers cannot afford to rent an apartment
or home in Silicon Valley. Students from CSUSJ and Stanford
also participated in the protest. The action was also supported by the
South Bay Labor Council.
Additional video at:
WalMart Workers Fed Up! Richmond-San Leandro Actions In BA On 2012 Black Friday
Walmart Nightmare! Injured Worker Speaks Out
Production of Labor Video Project http://www.laborvideo.org
Loud Protest Calls on President Obama to Challenge, Not Praise, Walmart
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – A noisy protest greeted President Obama as he arrived at a Mountain View Walmart to honor the company for environmentalism. Current and former Walmart workers, union members and community leaders carrying banners and signs rallied outside the barricades closing off the store parking lot.
“The President owes it to working families to keep his word about addressing the problem of income inequality,” said Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council. “It’s insulting that we elected this President and he’s praising a multi-billion dollar company that keeps its workers living in poverty.”
Walmart employee Pamela Ramos, who works at the Mountain View Walmart the President visited, is living in her car because low wages and medical bills keep her from covering the rent.
Pamela Ramos works at the Mountain View Walmart that President Obama visited.
“When I heard President Obama was visiting my store, I wanted to tell him what income inequality really looks like—right here working at the country’s largest employer,” said Ramos. ”What I make is not enough to cover the bills, and all I can afford to eat for lunch is a cup of coffee and a bag of potato chips. Even though the company makes $16 billion in profits, hundreds of thousands of Walmart workers are paid less than $25,000 a year.
In addition to the hundreds that rallied outside of the store, 32 groups including, Global Exchange, Jobs with Justice, Moveon.org, and Rainforest Action Network, signed onto the joint statement below:
“We are asking the President to challenge Walmart to help strengthen the American economy and protect our environment by becoming a leader in sustainability and creating better jobs. The country’s largest employer should not only be supporting the bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, it should be providing workers a minimum of $25,000 a year and full-time work.”
Walmart workers—part of OUR Walmart—have been taking the country’s income inequality head on by calling on the giant retailer to publicly commit to ending retaliation against workers and provide better wages for workers. While the majority of associates are paid less than $25,000 a year, Walmart makes $16 billion in annual profits and the Waltons—the richest family in the country—have a combined wealth of more than $148 billion. Many workers must rely on taxpayer-supported programs like food stamps and public health care just to get by.
Marketplace recently revealed that Walmart is the biggest beneficiary of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps. Walmart takes 18 percent of all food stamp dollars— or $13 billion in revenue. A Congressional report calculated that Walmart workers are forced to rely on $900,000 in taxpayer funded supports, including food stamps and healthcare, at just one of the company’s 4,000 stores.
Environmentalists have also been calling on the company to take real steps towards sustainability, recently awarding the company the “greenwasher of the year” award for its efforts to talk the talk about sustainability, without taking real, meaningful steps towards even meeting its own goals – or standards in the industry. Just 3 percent of Walmart’s power comes from its wind and solar projects and its use of renewable energy has fallen 25% in the last two years. Walmart continues to lag behind many of its competitors including Kohl’s, Staples, and Whole Foods who are already using 100% renewable energy.
The President’s motorcade pulled into the Walmart on the opposite side of the store in order to avoid the protesters. He spent less than half an hour there before flying out of Moffett Field.
Stanford students joined the picket line supporting Walmart workers fight for better wages.
While workers and community people rallied buses were used to blockade the store.
Walton Billionaire Carrie Walton Penner who is privatizing schools in California lives in nearby Atherton. She is a major backer of charter schools in California and on the board of KIPP schools which is pushing privatization at the Rocket Schools.