Dear Commons Community,
Charmaine Givens-Thomas, a 60-year-old Walmart worker in Evergreen Park, Ill., has started an online petition asking President Obama to meet with employees of the company.
“We would like for you to hear first-hand why [workers] are appealing for respect and calling on Walmart to pay them more to feed and support their families,” she wrote to the President in the petition. As reported in The Huffington Post:
“Givens-Thomas announced the petition Thursday on a conference call organized by OUR Walmart, an advocacy organization with ties to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. The petition will be distributed by MoveOn, Credo, Sum of Us, Firedog Lake and other organizations in the coming days, according to Lynsey Kryzwick, a spokeswoman for OUR Walmart.
Givens-Thomas, who has worked at Walmart for almost eight years and makes $11 an hour, said she still relies on a food pantry and struggles to pay her bills.
“I’ve had my gas turned off because I have to make hard choices,” she said on the conference call. “Either you’re going to keep something like your lights on, or you’re going to keep the gas on. You shouldn’t have to make choices like that in America in 2013.”
Born and raised in Chicago, Givens-Thomas said that, at 15 years old, she marched with Martin Luther King Jr. Five years ago, when President Obama was elected, she was overjoyed. “I felt like we were closer to realizing King’s dream of good jobs and freedom,” she wrote in the petition.
However, “Walmart, the country’s largest employer, is helping to hold America back from this dream,” she wrote. “Like too many Americans, I cannot promise my grandchildren that they will have a brighter future than I had.”
This is a good cause. Please take a minute to sign this petition and support Ms. Givens-Thomas and her co-workers at Walmart.