Thelma Moore was fired from the Walmart store where she worked after requesting accommodations for her pregnancy.

September 23, 2014

Call Walmart Now and Tell the Company Women Shouldn’t Be Fired Just for Being Pregnant

It’s been more than six months since Walmart, which was under pressure from associates and women’s organizations, agreed to change its pregnancy policy to provide basic accommodations for employees experiencing complications with their pregnancies. But a Walmart store in Chicago reveals the company has fallen far short of truly implementing its policy to support pregnant workers.

In April, store associate Thelma Moore was injured by falling TV boxes while shopping at the Chatham Walmart on her day off. Then two months pregnant, her doctors recommended she stay home for two weeks, then made a list of accommodations she needed in order to return to work, including not lifting boxes over 25 pounds and being able to take water breaks every two hours. Thelma filled out the necessary paperwork but was told no positions were available that could accommodate her. Walmart then fired her for missing too many days.

Unfortunately, Thelma’s case is not an isolated one. In February, her co-worker Bene’t Holmes suffered a miscarriage on Walmart property when she was four months pregnant after being denied her request to stop stocking chemicals and lifting heavy boxes.

Workers’ at Thelma’s store and the community in Chicago have been organizing to support women like Thelma and Bene’t – so far they have collected petition signatures, sent a delegation to the manager and held a prayer vigil.

Now, we need your help to turn up the heat.  Call 1-800-WALMART (925-6278) today to demand the Chatham store in Chicago reinstate Thelma and comply with Walmart’s pregnancy accommodation policy.

Here’s why your call matters. If the Walmart customer service line receives 200 complaints about the Chatham store, it will trigger an investigation by the home office.

Thelma Moore was fired from her store after requesting accommodations for her pregnancy.
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Here’s a helpful script for your call:

Hello, I’m calling to register a serious complaint about your Chatham store in Chicago (store #5781). I have learned that Thelma Moore, an associate at the store, was injured by falling boxes while shopping in her store on her day off. Her doctors recommended several accommodations to her job to protect the health of her pregnancy, but instead of accommodating her needs, the company fired her. Expecting mothers should not lose their jobs for making reasonable requests recommended by their doctor. I demand you reinstate Thelma Moore and follow the company’s new pregnancy policy.

As you make your call, members of Respect the Bump and Chicago Jobs With Justice will be demonstrating at Thelma’s store. Follow along with the protest with the hashtag #WalmartMoms. You can also let us know how your call went by commenting below!

While Thelma fights to get her job back, she and other members of Respect the Bump, an organization of pregnant women and new moms at Walmart, continue to hear from women who are being denied accommodations. It’s clear that Walmart needs to take action to ensure that their policy is fully implemented and enforced at every store, and go further to extend basic accommodations to all pregnant women who have a medical need for them, whether they have complications or a normal pregnancy.

As the largest private employer of women in the country, Walmart should set the standard for how women workers are treated throughout the industry and our economy. The stories of women like Thelma and Bene’t highlight the need for Congress to take action – including passing the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act – as well as the significance of the upcoming oral arguments in the pregnancy discrimination Supreme Court  case  Young v. United Parcel Service, which is scheduled to start December 3.

Photo by Hizonic
/Flickr

July 29, 2014

Demand Schedules That Work!

Too many people today aren’t just living paycheck to paycheck, they’re living hour to hour. Large companies like Walmart and McDonald’s schedule workers with too few hours on too short notice, putting them in a no-win situation. Not only do these jobs typically pay poorly, but workers are regularly required to be on call or maintain open availability without being guaranteed a shift. Not knowing their hours means not knowing how much money they’ll make in a week or month. For these workers, being at the beck and call of their employers makes it that much harder to take care of everyday life responsibilities.

That’s why the newly introduced Schedules That Work Act is so important. The bill allows everyone to have a say in their schedules – whether someone is experiencing erratic work shifts, is scheduled with too many hours or needs a schedule change because of a critical obligation. It would also help eradicate the abusive scheduling practices in the restaurant and retail industries.

If you think working families deserve jobs with just hours and stable work schedules they can depend on, will you ask your representative to co-sponsor the Schedules That Work Act?

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May 31, 2014

Stand With Care Workers – and Against the Right Wing

Anti-worker forces are at it again. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is challenging the rights of home care providers to collectively bargain. This extremist right-wing group with ties to the ultra-conservative Koch Brothers and ALEC has brought its legal case all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the Roberts court – which has ruled in favor of corporations time and time again – we’re hoping for the best, but bracing for the worst. The Supreme Court will issue its decision anytime in June.

These frontline caregivers, who provide life-changing care for our loved ones, have been fighting to improve their insufficient job standards for years. Hundreds of thousands of these workers now have collective bargaining rights, and just in the last year, nearly two million home care workers finally secured the right to earn a minimum wage and overtime. Now is the moment to raise these workers up – not cut them down.

Sign our petition to stand with care workers and against shameful right-wing attacks now!

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May 31, 2014

Walmart Moms Deserve Better

At Walmart stores across the country, many employees are afraid to say they’re pregnant for fear they will lose their jobs or be forced to take early leave they can’t afford.

Candace Riggins, a pregnant Walmart employee, asked for a small accommodation – to be moved away from the chemical fumes that were irritating her to a cashier or floor associate position. Instead of meeting with Candace to talk about accommodations, the store manager avoided Candace with excuses. Even after asking for accommodations and being denied, she continued to work and later passed out and had to go to the hospital twice. Her doctor’s opinion is that her work could be causing the complications.

And Candace isn’t the only one. Many women have similar stories and have no choice but to go to work, concealing their pregnancy while performing duties that their medical providers warn may hurt them or their unborn babies. From climbing ladders and lifting heavy goods to scrubbing bathrooms with dangerous chemicals and being refused bathroom breaks, these women endure conditions that put their health at risk, simply because Walmart refuses to make simple changes1 to help them continue to work as productive team members.

Now Walmart is facing class action legal claims about its lack of pregnancy accommodations2; it needs to take the health of its pregnant workers seriously!

After expectant Walmart workers, Walmart moms, women’s organizations and supporters from the Jobs With Justice network called on Walmart to address its arcane pregnancy policy, Walmart took the first step in addressing these complaints by finally extending basic accommodations for pregnant women experiencing temporary disabilities caused by pregnancy3 – a very simple adjustment Walmart had refused to make in the past.

But now it’s time to call on Walmart to extend these simple adjustments to ALL pregnant women who have a medical need for them – whether they have complications or a normal pregnancy.

As the largest private employer of women in the country, Walmart should set the standard for how women workers are treated throughout the industry and our economy. No woman should be forced to live in fear or risk their health simply because she wants to have a family. Tell Walmart, it’s time to do better for Walmart moms.

References:
1 http://www.abetterbalance.org/web/ourissues/fairnessworkplace/293-pregnant-workers-at-walmart
2 http://www.msmagazine.com/news/uswirestory.asp?ID=14928
3 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/04/05/under-pressure-walmart-upgrades-its-policy-for-helping-pregnant-workers/

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May 18, 2014

Tell the Department of Education to End Its Contract With Sallie Mae Now!

Federal regulators just ordered Sallie Mae to pay $97 million in penalties plus restitution for violating multiple laws, including overcharging 93 percent of active duty servicemembers and mishandling borrowers’ payments to maximize late fees and penalties.

Despite mounting evidence showing how Sallie Mae has been ripping off federal student loan borrowers for years, it’s still possible the Department of Education will renew its multimillion-dollar contract with the shady company next month.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan needs to hear from as many of us as possible that it’s unacceptable for the Department of Education to be in business with a company taking advantage of taxpayers, students, members of the military and minority and low-income borrowers.

The current contract actually stipulates that violating federal law is grounds for termination, but we know the agency won’t act without massive public pressure. So far, Secretary Duncan has only instructed his department to review “what appropriate actions, if any” should be taken against Sallie Mae. Seriously?

Tell Secretary Duncan there’s just one appropriate action to take: Cancel the contract with Sallie Mae!

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April 28, 2014

URGENT: Tell Your Senators to Raise the Minimum Wage

With our federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25 an hour, too many people working full-time can’t afford to take care of their families and make ends meet. While the cost of living in America continues to rise, big profitable corporations are choosing not to increase their employees’ pay.

This week, senators are expected to vote on a proposal to give a raise to tens of millions of workers.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, raise pay for tipped workers and tie the minimum wage to inflation. This bill would give a much-needed boost to 30 million workers, jump-start our economy and take an important step toward ending poverty wages.

There’s a groundswell of support for increasing the minimum wage, but lobbyists representing big fast food and retail companies are swarming the Capitol to stop it.

Write your senators NOW and urge them to VOTE YES on the Fair Minimum Wage Act.

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March 31, 2014

Email Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Now!

Did you know 33 million people who are saddled with federal student debt are eligible for one of the Department of Education’s affordable loan repayment programs – but only 1.6 million are enrolled.

Why is such a key lifeline so underused? Borrowers don’t even know the programs exist. The Department of Education hasn’t told more than 80 percent of eligible borrowers about their options to make their loans more manageable.

As one of the largest financial institutions in the country, the agency literally has the responsibility to promote these programs that could aid distressed borrowers earning low wages or carrying major debt loads. By not widely promoting them, the department appears to be prioritizing its bottom line at the expense of borrowers who are increasingly going into default.

Email U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to inform eligible borrowers about their loan repayment options NOW!

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March 26, 2014

Help Force a Vote on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

This week we finally have an opportunity to break through the obstruction of House Republican leaders who are needlessly holding up immigration reform. There’s a groundswell of support for a comprehensive solution to fix our broken immigration laws, but Speaker Boehner and his leadership team have been dragging their feet, blocking any chance for meaningful reform.

Today Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announced the launch of a discharge petition to force a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. Modeled after the bipartisan Senate bill, H.R. 15 isn’t perfect, but it does include a pathway to citizenship and strong protections that will help ensure bad employers can’t exploit workers in the shadows of the economy. It also removes the controversial “border surge” amendment that was tacked on to S. 744 at the last minute.

Don’t be fooled by the complicated terminology – a discharge petition is simply the procedural method for House members to get an up-or-down vote on a bill when the Speaker and his lieutenants obstruct the normal legislative process.

Having this way to demand a vote is welcome news for immigrant rights and workers’ rights advocates who have been raising their voices on the need for the House to vote on a permanent immigration solution. As our executive director Sarita Gupta commented in a statement:

“Each day that Speaker Boehner and House Republicans are able to put off a vote on immigration reform is another day that families are needlessly torn apart and standards for all workers are lowered. Cases of bad employers using the broken immigration system to retaliate against workers blowing the whistle on labor abuses continue to mount. Mothers and fathers who have done nothing more than ask that employers respect their basic workplace rights continue to be deported.”

This is a put-up or shut-up moment for Republicans and Democrats who have said publicly that they want to solve our immigration crisis. Just 218 signers are needed on the discharge petition to make sure we get an up-or-down vote this year. Will you call your representative and ask her or him to sign on to the discharge petition for H.R. 15? Call now at 1-877-683-6270. Here’s a call script to help you out:

Hi, as a concerned [STATE] constituent in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, I’m calling to urge [YOUR REPRESENTATIVE’s NAME] to sign Representative Joe Garcia’s immigration reform discharge petition to demand a vote on H.R. 15. Thank you.

The ball is clearly now with the House of Representatives to fix our profoundly broken immigration system. Help motivate them to act. Please take two minutes to make a call to your representative today!

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March 7, 2014

Tell Your Representative to Raise the Wage!

With our federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25 an hour, too many people working full-time can’t afford to take care of their families and make ends meet. While the cost of living in America continues to rise, big profitable corporations are choosing not to increase their employees’ pay.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, raise pay for tipped workers and tie the minimum wage to inflation. This bill would give a much-needed boost to 30 million workers, jump-start our economy and take an important step toward ending poverty wages.

Your voice really matters here: lobbyists representing big fast food and retail companies are counting on Representatives John Boehner and Eric Cantor to prevent a vote on this bill. But with just 218 signatures, the Fair Minimum Wage Act can have its day on the House floor.

Write your representative today and urge him or her to sign the Fair Minimum Wage Act discharge petition now!

Image credit: DCL

February 13, 2014

Tell Dirty Jobs Host Mike Rowe to Meet With Walmart Workers

TV host Mike Rowe, a longtime champion for working people in our country, is the voice of Walmart’s new PR stunt that promises to bring back American manufacturing by putting more U.S.-made products on its shelves. Mike said he did the campaign because he wants to see Walmart succeed at helping rebuild our country. But we think that rebuilding needs to start with the company paying workers more than poverty wages.

Walmart workers like Janet Sparks understand that all too well – which is why they’re asking to sit down with Mike Rowe and talk about how Walmart can really change.

Will you write Mike Rowe and ask him to meet with Walmart workers? Send your email now >>