Aida Alvarez, Chair of the Latino Community Foundation, Refused to Other Latino Leaders and California Workers

CONTACT: Jorge Amaro at 202-842-4998
Elizabeth Brennan at 213-999-2164

OAKLAND, Calif. – More than a dozen Walmart employees and warehouse workers who work in Walmart-contracted facilities told a crowd of Bay Area leaders and activists that no matter the obstacles  they continue to face, they are committed to improving jobs for the millions employed in Walmart’s domestic supply chain.

Despite widespread retaliation and, at times, horrific working conditions, Walmart store workers and warehouse workers told the crowd that included representatives from California Domestic Workers Coalition, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, California Rural Legal Assistance, and East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, that they are not scared.

“It seems like Walmart’s goal is to intimidate us and fire anyone who exposes the reality of jobs at Walmart,” said John Juanitas, a Walmart worker from Fremont, California. “Support from the community reminds us that we are not alone and we are on the right path.”Leaders from several Bay Area non-profit organizations, labor groups and foundations joined more than a dozen workers, many of whom have been fired and disciplined for speaking about safety on the job, fair wages and an end to retaliation at work, at a breakfast hosted by Jobs with Justice San Francisco Friday morning. The group had hoped  Aida Alvarez, a member of Walmart’s Board of Directors and chair of the respected Latino Community Foundation, would attend, but she did not respond to letters, calls or a visit to her Piedmont home.

"Walmart workers have tried more than a dozen times to speak with Ms. Alvarez,” said Venanzi Luna, who’s worked at Walmart for seven years. “As a proud Latina committed to advancing the Latino community, I remain hopeful that Ms. Alvarez will end her silence and stand with Walmart workers.”

More than a dozen workers made the journey from all over California to the Bay Area this week to receive an award at the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center’s 50th anniversary dinner.

“Walmart is the largest employer of Latinos but instead of working with us – the people who help ensure the company makes a healthy profit – they are retaliating against us,” said Javier Rodriguez, a former warehouse worker from San Bernardino County.  “I was fired after speaking up about safety at a Walmart-contracted warehouse. We know that Aida Alvarez can help workers get our jobs back.”

Although Alvarez did not respond to workers’ invitation, several other community leaders attended.

“It’s important that we support these courageous workers’ struggle,” said Gordon Mar from Jobs with Justice. “It’s hard to imagine, but Walmart is the largest private-sector employer in the world and creating good jobs at Walmart would rebuild our economy. These workers are the key to creating good, middle class jobs in America.”

Legal Disclaimer: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Walmart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Walmart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Walmart publicly commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.