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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest