On Black Friday, more than 1,500 protests took place at Walmart stores around our country. Organizers reported more than 100 arrests in civil disobedience actions. The events centered around Walmarts low wages, unethical treatment of workers, and their history of trying to prevent employees from forming unions. This year, thousands of workers and supporters joined the protests – showing just how much the movement has grown since last year's Black Friday strikes, which included only 400 people.
The workers' rights group Our Walmart does not yet have a count of exactly how many workers joined events last Friday, but the group described the events as “widespread, massive strikes and protests.” This growing movement is a clear indication that workers – and their supporters – are fed up with the low-wages and unfair treatment from Walmart and other corporations. Employees of one of the largest companies on the planet shouldn't have to turn to government benefits to buy food or pay for housing. And, taxpayers shouldn't be subsidizing a company that refuses to pay people a living wage.
It is a privilege to do business in our nation, and our commons makes those huge corporate profits possible in the first place. If corporations refuse to pay workers what they deserve, then they shouldn't have the right to do business here. As Congress continues to slash social services, like food stamps and heating assistance, life is getting harder and harder for those trying to live on minimum wage. Rather than sentencing the poor to a life of hardship, it's time take away these corporate charters, and tell companies like Walmart that Americans won't subsidize their unethical wages. If Walmart refuses to pay workers enough to survive on, than they should have no right to do business in our great nation. It's time to tell Walmart to pay a living wage, or face the corporate death penalty. It's that simple.
The Thom Hartmann Program weekdays 3 PM to 6 PM on WWRL 1600.