To Protest Walmart on Black Friday, Organizers Are Seeking Food for Underpaid Workers

They’ve got 1,000 collection drives planned.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ufcwinternational/15280354544/in/photolist-phgP3G-qefQnD-i2ymHH-phgFZo-pWPmna-pWFXth-qe5Pc8-pWQJjT-qecACY-qeg8GD-qecKc1-qe5ZhP-qeg2y6-qbYCsb-phvfGv-pWFYJJ-qe5Q9P-pWPti4-pWQZV2-pWGWvA-qbYBNL-pWPrSP-pWH8zQ-i2zwfV-i2yKXu-phczkj-pWBR5y-pWKhiX-i2xFg5-i2xz8q-i2xkET-i2y27u-i2y6W7-i2y6ef-i2yL7e-i2yLLR-pWBReG-qebP68-pWLLWK-pWCSDW-pWLKUV-qe1HKK-qbUy5b-pWLLN8-pWBSRQ-qe1H7v-qe8uc9-qebMT8-qe1G5a-phcA2Q">UFCW</a>/Flickr


The people who organized the largest-ever Black Friday demonstrations against Walmart last year are leaving their protest signs at home this year. Instead, they’re launching a campaign to support 1,000 food drives around the country to help struggling Walmart workers.

Making Change at Walmart’s “Give Back Friday” campaign kicked off on Tuesday with the launch of a national TV ad campaign urging people “to help feed underpaid workers” and to “help us tell Walmart that in America no hard-working family should go hungry.”

Some Walmart stores have implicitly acknowledged that their “associates” don’t make enough money to feed themselves. In 2013, a Walmart store in Ohio held a Thanksgiving food drive “for associates in need”—although well intentioned, the drive became a publicity nightmare for the retail giant after photos of the food collection bin went viral.

Walmart raised its wages this year, but an entry-level associate still makes just $9 an hour—less than $16,000 a year based on Walmart’s full-time status of 34 hours a week. (The federal poverty level is $24,250 for a family of four and $11,770 for an individual.) A 2013 report by congressional Democrats found that the company’s wages and benefits are sufficiently low that many employees turn to the government for help, costing taxpayers between $900,000 and $1.75 million per store.

“This holiday season, we have set the goal of feeding 100,000 Walmart workers and families,” the union-backed group Making Change at Walmart said in a press release. “It is unconscionable that people working for one of the richest companies in this country should have to starve.”

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