With the tagline of "Living Wages, Healthy Communities," Respect DC is a community of workers, students, parents and organizations all concerned with one common goal -- the quality of life in Washington, D.C., and its surrounding communities. Since they advocate that all D.C. employers provide a decent living wage for employees, it should come as no surprise that Walmart's expansion into the District is a major bone of contention.
Walmart has come under fire for years regarding various allegations of discrimination and wage theft. Dr. Jarvis Johnson, spokesperson for the "Living Wages, Healthy Communities" coalition, said that, "Walmart has a golden opportunity to step up and embrace this path to genuine partnership" in the Washington, D.C., area.
The coalition has proposed an enforceable Community Benefits Agreement, which includes such standards as "full-time, living wage jobs" and "equal pay for all workers, regardless of gender or race." Similar coalitions have been challenging Walmart's entry into or expansion in communities nationwide, from Philadelphia to Seattle.
Spreading the word about these initiatives can be difficult, which is why Respect DC recently chose to stage a flash mob as a form of protest and information sharing. Over 100 DC residents and coalition members banded together at a Walmart store in Laurel, Md., to show their support for the coalition's message.
Alan Barber, an associate at that Maryland store, was touched by the message. "We don't get the respect we deserve at work," he said. "Management overworks and underpays us, and then makes things worse by creating a climate of fear so most associates are too afraid to demand better treatment."
Check out the flash mob below, and share your opinion of Walmart's expansion with us in the comments. For more information regarding the "Living Wages, Healthy Communities" coalition, visit RespectDC.org.
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