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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, many essential retail and grocery workers say they are risking their health — and their lives — simply by showing up for work.
With more than 2,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases at U.S. Walmarts, thousands of frontline employees have taken leaves of absence and called out sick, saying the retail giant is failing to protect essential workers. A national movement of Walmart workers is calling on the company to provide hazard pay to those who work during the pandemic, inform them when there are positive COVID-19 cases in their stores, deep clean stores after confirmed cases, and provide paid time off with no penalty when people are sick.
"Dear Walmart" tells the story of how this movement began, in the decade before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Via in-store organizing and actions, Black Friday strikes, small group meetings, community outreach, national gatherings of workers, and online conversations with thousands of employees, Walmart workers built a new labor movement that compelled the retail giant to make changes, but not without setbacks. The film follows four Walmart employees as their movement grows worker-by-worker, store-by-store, and state-by-state, pushing for an historic win in 2015.
Their advocacy and mobilizing helped to forge a new model for building power for workers in the retail sector. Now more than ever, with COVID-19 literally threatening the health and safety of millions of retail workers, Walmart workers say they want a safe workplace, respect on the job and pay that reflects the truly essential nature of their jobs.
This film charts the birth of a national movement, powerfully revealing how the act of standing up and standing together not only transformed the characters in the film, but may transform the future of the company's workforce as well.
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You can buy "Dear Walmart" on DVD via Amazon.com.