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Walmart: Stop Profiting from Forced Labor in Louisiana
  • Petitioned Lorenzo Lopez

This petition was delivered to:

Director, Media Relations, Walmart
Lorenzo Lopez
CEO, Walmart
Mike Duke
International corporate affairs manager, Walmart
Megan Murphy
VP, Corporate Communications, Walmart
Mona Williams
VP of Ethical Sourcing, Walmart
Rajan Kamalanathan

Walmart: Stop Profiting from Forced Labor in Louisiana

    1. Petition by

      National Guestworker Alliance

July 2012


Ana Rosa Diaz and her coworkers at C.J.'s Seafood, a supplier for Walmart, say that they experienced forced labor while working at the company's facility in Louisiana, including long hours, wage theft, unsafe conditions and other abuses. Ana joined her coworkers and the National Guestworker Alliance to launch a petition to Walmart signed by nearly 150,000 people. As a result of the campaign, Walmart suspend its contract with the supplier. The Department of Labor published an investigation that cited the Walmart supplier for serious and willful violations of federal labor law and demanded over $248,000 in back wages, fines, and penalties. The NGA believes that millions of people have learned about Ana's story and campaign against Walmart through coverage in the New York Times editorial page, The Guardian, on National Public Radio, and many other places. Ana Rosa Diaz, the NGA guestworker member who started the petition, said: "When I decided to go on strike to stop C.J.'s from holding us in forced labor, I never imagined that almost 150,000 Americans would join our cause. Now I know that with your support, we can make a change at Walmart that will improve the lives of thousands and thousands of workers." To keep up to date about the work of the NGA and its members like Ana, check out http://guestworkeralliance.org

My name is Ana Rosa Diaz. I'm 40 years old and I have four children. I came to the United States on an H-2B guestworker visa from my home in Tamaulipas, Mexico. I work in a small town in Louisiana with other guestworkers, peeling crawfish for a company called C.J.’s Seafood, which sells 85% of its products to Walmart.

Our boss forces us to work up to 24 hours at a time with no overtime pay. No matter how fast we work, they scream and curse at us to make us work faster. Our supervisor threatens to beat us with a shovel to stop us from taking breaks.

We live in trailers across from the boss's house, and we’re under surveillance all the time. The supervisors come into our trailers without warning, and they threaten to fire us if we leave after 9 p.m.

The supervisor also locked us in the plant so we couldn’t take breaks. One worker called 911. After that the boss rounded us up at 2:30 a.m., closed the door to keep the American employees out, and threatened our families.

He said, “As a friend I can be very good, but you don’t want to know me as an enemy. I have contacts with good people and bad people, and I know where all your families live. I can find you no matter where you hide.” We were terrified. 

We want to work. We need to support our families. But we also want to be treated like human beings.

We joined the National Guestworker Alliance and decided to go on strike. The boss refused to take back his threats against our families, so we filed complaints with the Department of Labor. And now we’re taking our demands to Walmart.

Walmart says it doesn't allow forced labor by any of its suppliers. But Walmart is profiting from the forced labor we lived through right here in Louisiana. And now they're trying to cover up what happened to us -- while three federal investigations are going on -- and they're refusing to speak with us.

Walmart needs to meet with us immediately, and to show its suppliers that it won't tolerate forced labor. We’re demanding that Walmart:

1. Cancel its contract with C.J.’s Seafood to show that it won't profit from forced labor in Louisiana.

2. Sit down with us, the striking workers, immediately as a first step toward a real investigation -- rather than a cover-up.

3. Sign the NGA's Guestworker Dignity Standards to prevent forced labor and guarantee civil and labor rights for guestworkers across the Walmart supply chain. 

Please sign and stand with us!

Recent signatures


    1. What's next? Join our Labor Day action!

      Ana Rosa Diaz, the NGA guestworker member who started the petition, said: "When I decided to go on strike to stop C.J.'s from holding us in forced labor, I never imagined that almost 150,000 Americans would join our cause. Now I know that with your support, we can make a change at Walmart that will improve the lives of thousands and thousands of workers."

      The C.J.’s workers are now meeting with other workers on the Walmart supply chain to expose other cases of forced labor by Walmart suppliers—and to end it.

      This Labor Day, Sep. 3, we're planning a nationwide action that will let ordinary people around the country will help do what Walmart refuses to: reveal the guestworkers on its supply chain.

      We need your help! Sign up at the link below to learn what you can do to help end forced labor on Walmart's supply chain this Labor Day!

    2. VICTORY!

      When Ana and 7 other brave guestworkers joined the NGA and exposed forced labor at Walmart supplier C.J.’s Seafood last month, Walmart tried to cover it up. But 150,000 of you wouldn't let them.

      Thanks to your support:
      • Walmart was forced to admit to labor violations at C.J.’s in the pages of the New York Times and to suspend its contract with the supplier.
      • The Department of Labor slammed the Walmart supplier for serious and willful violations of federal labor law, demanding over $248,000 in back wages, fines, and penalties.
      • Literally millions of people learned how Walmart profits from forced labor from stories on the New York Times editorial page, in The Guardian, on National Public Radio, and many other places.

      Our deepest thanks for all your support, and please keep fighting alongside us to end forced labor across the Walmart supply chain!

    3. NYT Editorial on forced labor and Walmart!

      "It is time to banish the idea that forced labor and sweatshop exploitation are problems of bygone eras or distant countries. These conditions exist within America’s borders. On June 29, Wal-Mart said it had suspended one of its seafood suppliers in Louisiana for violating its workplace standards. The action came as an advocacy group for foreign guest workers announced that it had uncovered appalling abuses at the company, C. J.’s Seafood, and at a dozen other Wal-Mart suppliers too..."

    4. Send some love to Ana and other fasting workers!

      Friends, even with over 144,000 of you calling on Walmart to negotiate with Ana and her fellow the workers about ending forced labor on its supply chain, Walmart is still refusing.

      That’s why the workers are holding a 24-hour fast this Saturday, June 30, in front of Walmart board member Michelle Burns’ penthouse apartment in NYC, at 8 Spruce Street.

      Can you show them some love with a solidarity fast of your own, a message of support, or a donation of $24 to their strike fund--one for each hour of the 24-shifts they were forced to work while Walmart reaped the profits?

    5. Evidence of forced labor at TWELVE MORE U.S. Walmart suppliers!

      It looks like C.J.'s Seafood was just the tip of the iceberg. While Walmart still refuses to negotiate with the Ana and her fellow workers, the NGA has turned up preliminary evidence of forced labor conditions across _a dozen other workplaces_ on Walmart’s U.S. supply chain. The evidence included 482 federal citations for safety, health, and wage and hour violations, as well as dozens of federal lawsuits alleging significant violations of civil and labor rights law at Walmart's U.S. suppliers that employ guestworkers.

      Click below for the full story!

    6. Workers' Rights Consortium investigation confirms forced labor, abuse

      The Worker Rights Consortium, an independent investigative agency, released findings of “systematic violations of labor law and grossly inhumane treatment” of H-2B guestworkers by a Walmart seafood supplier in Louisiana called C.J.’s Seafood.

      The scathing report calls conditions at C.J.'s "rival any sweatshop in China or Bangladesh."

      So where do we go from here? Click the link to read a statement released by NGA Executive Director Saket Soni.

    7. Workers deliver 122k signatures to Walmart board member!

      At a powerful action with dozens of NYC labor and community allies this evening, Ana and her fellow workers delivered a massive box of 122k of your signatures on the petition to Walmart to board member Michelle Burns. (Photos at link below.)

      Walmart has yet to agree to sit down with the workers and stop profiting from forced labor, but it's DEFINITELY heard the workers' voice -- and yours. OUR DEEPEST THANKS to every one of you who signed, shared, and wrote in support. Stayed tuned tomorrow (Thu) for important news!

      p.s. -- Have you seen the workers' YouTube video yet? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVWos-FBLjQ

    8. Reached 100,000 signatures
    9. Three federal investigations ongoing

      Dear friends, some of you have asked about the federal government's response to this case. Do they know? Are they taking action?

      They do, and they are. The workers filed official complaints with the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on June 6: http://www.guestworkeralliance.org/2012/06/dol-and-eeoc-complaints-re-walmart-supplier-c-j-s-seafood/

      As of now, there are three federal investigations underway, by DOL Wage & Hour, OSHA, and the EEOC. In the story linked, a Walmart spokesperson tried to trick the reporter into thinking the federal investigations were over, but failed: "Joshua Lamont, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor, said his agency is still investigating. 'We can’t comment on an ongoing investigation,' he said, 'except to say there is an ongoing investigation.'"

    10. Reached 50,000 signatures
    11. Ana and workers hit NYC to expose Walmart's cover-up!

      We told you last week how Walmart tried to cover up forced labor by its supplier without even speaking to Ana and the other brave workers who exposed it. This week, June 18-20, Ana and her fellow strikers will be marching on the offices and homes of Walmart board members in NYC to demand they listen to the truth -- and they'll be delivering your petitions!

      Please help them collect as many signatures as possible to tell Walmart: Stop profiting from forced labor in Louisiana!

    12. Reached 5,000 signatures
    13. Walmart attempts a cover-up -- will you let it work?

      It's no surprise Walmart decided to run a cover-up of forced labor by its Louisiana supplier (see the story link below), but it is surprising that they didn't even _try_ to make it look like an investigation.

      If you actually want to investigate forced labor, first you sit down with the whistle-blowers, then you interview the remaining workers somewhere they're totally free from intimidation by the boss who threatened their families.

      If you want to run a cover-up instead, you do what Walmart did: ignore the whistleblowers, pretend the evidence they presented to two federal agencies doesn't exist, and agree on talking points with the boss.

      Don't let Walmart’s cover-up work! Please help spread the word!

    14. Workers' Rights Consortium launches independent investigation!

      Friends! Great news! The Workers' Rights Consortium, which has helped expose labor abuses and hold major corporations accountable all over the world, has launched an independent investigation into forced labor at the Walmart supplier!

      Scott Nova, the WRC’s Executive Director, said, “The allegations against this Wal-Mart supplier
      merit urgent investigation. We are particularly concerned about workers’ claims that the
      employer has responded to their decision to report matters to the authorities by threatening
      violence against their families. We have a team on-the-ground in Louisiana and we will conduct
      this inquiry with dispatch.”

      Thank you to every one of you who has signed, and let's keep the momentum building to win justice for Ana and her fellow workers!

    15. Reached 1,000 signatures
    16. Meet the workers on YouTube!

      Ana and her fellow workers have released an incredibly beautiful video about their fight.

      "We just want to be respected for our work ... and for them to respect us as people, as human beings."

      Please watch and spread the word!

    17. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Andrew Utecht BUENA PARK, CA
      • about 2 years ago

      CJ's should have all assets seized and the dictators need to be in jail. Business is basically over for CJ's since they will not be able to get contracts anymore since the information is now knowledge for millions of us...

    • anne marie benoit VANCOUVER, CANADA
      • about 2 years ago

      this goes on in too many places around the world and it is time to take action

    • Karen Blanton NOKOMIS, FL
      • about 2 years ago

      Walmart is a monopoly & has killed too many small businesses. Bottom line for them is making money and doing whatever they can to make more money so they have more POWER! I can't stand this place and think bad thoughts every time I see one of their stores!

    • Natalie Sanchez SAN BRUNO, CA
      • about 2 years ago

      This is unprofessional behavior. There are reasons why employees require breaks & equal treatment. This is bad business & inhumane treatment.

      • about 2 years ago

      Wal-Mart's family has more $ than 40% of Americans. Stop using Chinese child-labor & pay your employees living wages + benefits. Otherwise, spend time in prison for being miserable greedy @holes. 7/24/12


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