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

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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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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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