Drum Hill Walmart Protest Planned For Saturday

Activists will gather demanding to repeal a reprimand to one employee who advocated for higher wages.

Anyone heading down Drum Hill Road is used to occasional protestors for political causes, and on Saturday morning those drivers will see an issue that hits close to home. So close to home, it’s only a few hundred feet away from where they’ll be standing.

Massachusetts Jobs With Justice has announced that it expects hundred of activists to rally along the sidewalks of Drum Hill Road near Chelmsford’s Walmart location to protest mistreatment of Chelmsford Walmart employee David Coulombe.

The effort in response to a protest in June where assorted groups of fast food and retail workers across the U.S. , including Coulombe, walked off the job to demand a living wage.

While some other Walmart employees who engaged in the protest were terminated, Coulombe did not lose his job, although he was verbally disciplined by his manager.

Jobs With Justice executive director Russ Davis says the Saturday protest is designed to demand that Walmart rescind the warning against Coulombe as well as challenge what he sees as false arguments by larger employers such as Walmart, such as that raising wages would cost jobs for some employees.

 “I think the real issue is quite frankly people can say whatever they want, but people can’t live on minimum wage or just above minimum wage, and there are people at Chelmsford’s Walmart making just over $8 an hour. Literally I think people have reached the point where they think ‘I don’t care what you say, I can’t live on what I’m making now,” says Davis. “And let’s be honest, Walmart has plenty of money, the Walton family has more money than the bottom thirty percent of the U.S. population put together.”

Walmart officials claim the protests by Jobs for Justice consist mainly of union members and activists that do not work at Walmart, employees from competing companies and paid participants, stating that the group also overinflates the turnout figures of its protests.

With Coulombe’s case, Walmart spokesperson Dan Fogleman said the discipline had nothing to do with political beliefs, but rather a violation of attendance policies, stating Coulombe did not inform his managers prior to walking off the job.

“If someone doesn’t show up to work, it’s really disrespectful  to managers and fellow employees,” said Fogleman. “Many employees who engaged in similar actions did not receive any discipline because they disclosed their plans in advance so managers could make accommodations.”

Fogleman also challenged claims from the group regarding the payment of Walmart employees, stating that the average U.S. Walmart employee makes $12.83 an hour, with 85,000 employees making up to $18 an hour.

Coulombe could not be reached for comment, the protest is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. 

Iron Mike September 07, 2013 at 09:17 AM
What a JOKE [on the workers]! Mass Jobs w/ Justice advocates to legalize illegal workers on one hand, while fighting for higher wages for entry level workers. In Econ 101 most college freshmen learn you cannot have BOTH. So if David Coulombe want's more money – let him apply at Walgreen, CVS, Stop & Shop, or Home Depot, - and see what the labor market will pay for his skill set and work history [including his walk-off protest]. And if America isn't working out for him, there's always Canada, Greece, and Syria...
Zach September 07, 2013 at 10:20 AM
You get paid for the skills you have. You want more $$ find a better job. If you stock shelves or something like that you shouldn't be making more than 10/per hour. It's not a hard job. I did and I would have loved to make more but I know what my job was worth.
Tyler Jozefowicz September 07, 2013 at 11:05 AM
$ 7.25 an hour is chump change, not to mention that W-Mart hires part-time so they do not have to pay health benefits. That's $290 for 40 hours, less ($140) for healthcare, probably another $40 for standard payroll deductions,you take home about $180 for working 40 hours. You kidding me. that is slave wages. W-Mart encourages their employees to apply for food stamps and other assistance so we the taxpayer have to subsidize Wal-Mart's chump change. The Wal-Mart family has more money than 30% of all Americans . Minimum Wage law has been in effect since 1934. That's America. I have to laugh at the retirees here who are collecting government checks every month badmouthing a decent wage here.
Iron Mike September 07, 2013 at 11:35 AM
As we've come to expect, a historically vacuous and economically empty remark from our reliable young 'expert'. When I began working – at 14 – minimum wages did not apply to small employers. I made 55¢ /hr – and was glad to get it. I got a raise to 65¢ by working harder than others. As a 17-yr old soldier I made $78.oo/month and managed to save $50.oo of it. Jump pay of $55/month was a BIG deal. I am always amazed at those who have not worked hard all their lives begrudge us old folks our SS, and those who wouldn't DREAM of serving are so resentful of military pensions, - since they never had to experience the danger or endure the hardships, - they just enjoyed their free ride.
Tyler Jozefowicz September 07, 2013 at 02:15 PM
And bread was 20 cents. Today rent averages $800 a month and gas is $4.50 gal, not $.35 . If we did not have a minimum wage they would have paid you 2 cents an hour. You got paid that because it was the law, not because the bosses were generous people. The world has changed . We no longer live in the 50s. As to your military service which you bring up all the time when you are in a pinch, you elected that profession. That's fine. You got paid for that career. To be consistent with your anti-government, socialist tirades, the taxpayers, however, don't owe you a free govt pension from age 50 to age 80, though. Dido for SS , Medicare, Tri-Care, PX privileges, military insurance, education benefits , all the socialist government programs , you rant against . The difference is that I have no problem with any of those programs; you do, EXCEPT the handouts you get. There is a word for that. It begins with "h".
Iron Mike September 07, 2013 at 05:59 PM
When we veterans get snarly tirades like yours Tyler, i.e. 'the taxpayers don't owe you a retirement', we understand that your showing the world several parts of your makeup... 1. You have no idea how pensions and deferred compensation are earned, 2. You don't understand that SS is OUR money – taken from us by force to be invested and returned upon reaching 65, - or 70.... 3. You could never pass the entrance requirements for the military, either mentally, physically, or emotionally.... Just FYI, military folks get paid about a third to a half of what civilians do, are on call 24x7x365, - and get shot at. Part of the BARGAIN the Government makes – is the deferred compensation – the pension and medical benefits. Since you were never asked to go into the Valley, suggest you try not to let the world see your envy and bitterness. BTW, did you join the protest?
Tyler Jozefowicz September 07, 2013 at 09:11 PM
I-M: speaking of tirades, you're always going off on socialist government programs. VA benefits , Social Security, Medicaid ,Medicare, Tri-Care, Military Pensions, PX food stamps ( military EBT card), Obamacare are all government ( socialist) programs. What I take from your comments above is that at least 2: Social Security & military pensions are ok with you in your fragmented mind. Could it be that those two are acceptable socialist programs because you receive them, and the others are demon socialism to be condemned? Now is your opportunity to explain which socialist programs you like and which you condemn as creeping socialism. Let's hear it dude.
John Doe September 08, 2013 at 09:46 AM
Tyler, at this point I have to believe you are trying to invite conflict on the board, because I know you're not really this stupid. You can't tell the difference between a pension program and SS, which people have SPECIFICALLY PAID INTO FOR THEMSELVES, and other more socialist programs like free healthcare for immigrants and the Obama phone?? People who collect social security are entitled to it because they have paid into it...DIRECTLY, the government is simply returning their own money. And the reason rent is $800 and bread is $2.50 and the reason prices have increased much faster than wages is because of all the government spending has resulted the fed becoming a printing factory and in a flood of dollars onto the market. This creates inflation that outpaces wages. In fact, we are very lucky that there has yet to be HYPER inflation because of all the printing. But lets make all illegals legal...that should help with the problem, right Tyler?
Tyler Jozefowicz September 08, 2013 at 10:53 AM
John Doe: I believe you are trying to create conflict by calling me "stupid". So don't start the ignorant personal attacks. Few things to set you straight: no one paid into military pensions;I know how Medicare and SS are funded ( I support those programs); the question is to a responder who prides himself in calling all government programs "socialism",and is silent on any details, collects some himself . His brand of socialism is selective socialism. Even Ronnie Reagan called for safety nets. The inflation we have today is structural inflation, demand side created , not government created, not wage price, i'e., gas, healthcare, housing, rent,education, deficit financing in the bond market,etc., not printing money. Inflation is fairly under control except for the structural aspects, 3% or less, but the cumulative effectgiven stagnant wages for the last 40 years is disasterous on low income people. Hence , the need for an increase in minimum wages. So rethink that one before u call someone stupid again. Your " illegal legal" remark is another stupid remark that has no relevance. Notice I called your remark stupid, not you.
Anna Bucciarelli September 09, 2013 at 07:15 AM
Who ever puts his/her life on the line for 20 to 30 years is certainly entitled to a pension. It's the least payment for their lifetime of giving.
Tyler Jozefowicz September 09, 2013 at 10:15 PM
I'm not questioning the pension. I am drawing attention to the hypocrisy in attacking all government programs as socialism. that point was ignored as usual and focus redirected.


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