MCAW Calls on Walmart to Improve Workplace Safety

August 12, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Today, Making Change at Walmart, released the following statement in response to the company’s apparent lack of improved workplace safety policies in the wake of the deadliest shooting in the company’s history that left two workers injured on August 10th in El Paso, Texas.

“Walmart must do more to protect its workers. With more retail industry workers being killed in on-the-job homicides than police officers for the past 6 years, the fact that the country’s largest retailer, Walmart, has not made public any efforts to improve workplace safety for its 1.2 million workers after the El Paso shooting is both shameful and negligent.

Walmart store workers already struggle to put food on the table for their families because of the low wages the company pays. Walmart workers like Gilbert Serna, who selflessly rescued 150 people from being killed during the El Paso shooting, deserve to go to work without also having to worry about the risk of violence on the job.

Protecting America’s workers should be a core American value. El Paso families and Walmart workers across the country deserve better than this.”

Another workplace incident occurred at a Walmart last Thursday when a man armed with a tactical rifle, handgun and more than 100 rounds of ammunition entered a Missouri Walmart dressed in body armor and fatigues and was detained at gunpoint by an off-duty firefighter. On July 30th, two Walmart store managers were killed by a gunman in Southaven, Mississippi.

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Background:

  • In response to the El Paso shooting, Walmart e-commerce workers organized a walkout last Wednesday in San Bruno, Calif. while Walmart workers in Portland, Ore., and Brooklyn also took action in protest of Walmart’s continued profit over firearm and ammunition sales.
  • Although Walmart pledges “thoughtful and deliberate response to the El Paso shooting, according to one of the walkout organizers, the company blocked the organizer’s email and employee messaging access.
  • In the wake of the El Paso shooting, Walmart faces renewed attention to the frequency of crime in its stores, but has yet to publicly announce improvements to workplace safety policies.
  • More retail industry workers than police officers were killed in homicides on the job for six years, with 94 people working in sales and similar jobs being killed in workplace homicides in 2017, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics In the retail industry, forty-six retail-sales supervisors, 31 cashiers, and 14 salespeople were among those killed.
  • For decades, the UFCW and other labor unions have fought for workplace safety protections, including the passage of the mine safety law and the Occupational Safety and Health Act.