Three Walmart associates from around the country share experience

From left to right: Walmart associates, Kenny Jones, Cynthia Marie and Girshriela Green discuss the latest news from their Walmart stores, which are scattered throughout the country. Photos by Karlyn Williams.

Even though they live in different cities, Walmart associates Cynthia Murray, Kenny Jones and Girshriela Green found they all shared the same experience of being disrespected, disregarded and dismissed.

“Even though you think it’s just in your store or just in Seattle for example, by becoming a part of OUR Walmart I’m able to see it’s not,” said Kenny Jones, a former Walmart associate from Seattle, Washington. “When I took the trip to Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas with several other members of OUR Walmart, in hopes of meeting with the CEO, I realized my story is the story of thousands, knowing this gave me strength.”

Monday, Respect DC and Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) gathered for a hot breakfast and discussion at Living Faith Baptist Church in Northeast, DC.  There, Walmart associates spoke freely about their experiences working for the corporate giant, in order to bring awareness to the Ward 7 community.

“After my experience being injured at work and being rushed to our company doctor, I became a target, alienated and picked on,” said Girshriela Green, a Walmart associate from California.

“So when somebody called by house one day asking if I wanted to see a change on my workplace, it was like a dream come true for me.”

“I was one of the first associates to speak up and point out what management is doing to people is wrong,” said Cynthia Murray, a Walmart associate in Laurel, Md. “It’s wrong how you yell at us in the aisle in front of customers, it’s wrong that we don’t make a living wage to shop anywhere else but Walmart, it’s wrong to have the elderly cashiers have their stools taken away from them.”

Green compared Walmart to a mutant octopus that “chokes the life out of small businesses” and pays their associates such a low wage that many have to live from check to check.

“The greed is just ridiculous, said Green. “We’re the heartbeat of their company, and if weren’t for us, there wouldn’t be a Walmart.

“And if you choke the life out of the heart, you don’t have a body, said Green. “Wake up already Walmart.”

Walmart associate,Cynthia Murray, told those who attended the breakfast that she remains an employee at Walmart because she serves as the voice not only for herself at work, but for others at her store in Laurel, Md.

The OUR Walmart members realize that the lack of respect on the job is a countrywide problem within the retail industry, not just Walmart.

“It’s time we put our foot down,” said Murray. “First, we need to be able to change Walmart across the U.S. with banning together as associates and gaining support of communities.

“ Then, we may have a chance in helping others that work in this industry by raising the standards for respect on the job, for all!”

OUR Walmart is an organization for Walmart associates dedicated ensuring that every associate regardless of his or her title, race,  or gender, is respected at Walmart.

Respect DC is part of the Living Wages Healthy Communities Coalition which is a grassroots-based organizations, pastors, workers, environmentalists, parents, students, and community members concerned about the quality of life in DC’s communities and committed to securing decent, living wage jobs.