What These Walmart Workers Are Willing To Do To Fight For A Living Wage Is Beautiful

As many as 100 Walmart employees are planning to join a movement to fast for up to 15 days leading into Thanksgiving. They plan to protest for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. There could be 1000 or more low-wage earners from around the country joining the extreme measure in hopes that people will finally take notice of the growing problem of people working full-time jobs and earning wages far below the poverty level.

Some of the protesters will fast for the entire 15 days while others will join for shorter periods. Many will rely on liquid-only diets for sustenance.

Andrea Dehlendorf, co-executive director of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart, said:

“The number of people willing to go hungry to call out Wal-Mart injustice is simply unheard of. Workers can’t even afford to buy groceries there.”

Denise Barlage, a former employee joining the fast, talked about disturbing lunchroom conversations revolving around not being able to afford food or even gas to get to and from work. “These are decisions no one should have to make,” she said. Other employees said they often share sandwiches with coworkers who can’t afford food.

Adding insult to injury, a worker from Denver noted that she sees Walmart throw away perfectly good food all the time. Another employee from Florida is petitioning Walmart to offer employees a ten percent discount on food.

While the actions of these people are certainly admirable, it’s absolutely despicable that it’s necessary. When the minimum wage came into existence, it was intended to be a benchmark to keep companies from profiting off of their employees without paying them a living wage first. In one of his most famous quotes, President Franklin Roosevelt said:

“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.”

That noble statement couldn’t possibly be further from the truth America faces today. We face poverty on an unprecedented level among the working class while those at the top pad their bank accounts and set up joint trusts for their children.

Hopefully, the brave protests of these people won’t go unnoticed — at least by lawmakers who have the power to enact change.

Featured image via Wikipedia