Workers at a Walmart in Columbus, MS (where the per capita income is $18,758) were filmed in the middle of a store meeting having what we from the church world would call a “hallelujah good time.”
One has to assume that this is acceptable underneath the policies and procedures of Walmart for this to be done so openly. And, of course, so long as all of the Walmart employees were there of their free will, then there isn’t anything legally wrong with the video. If people want to gather for scripture readings and prayer before they start their day in the trenches of just-above-minimum-wage labor, I totally understand.
But it is painfully ironic that this is occurring at a company that has been caught actively fighting to keep their employees from organizing for higher wages. As recently as April of this year, The United Food and Commerical Workers International Union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board stating that the corporate giant shut down 5 stores because of labor organizing at those locations.
Perhaps the prayers make the fact that they barely make enough for subsistence more palatable. The wages at Walmart are so low that one report indicates the American taxpayer subsidizes the corporate giant with $6.2 Billion in public assistance, welfare, and food stamps.
When you watch this video through this lens, the church service on aisle 3 becomes more disturbing. No matter how sincere the intentions of the people in the video, the video screams that it is more acceptable at Walmart to use religion to numb and/or distract their workers from their reality than it is for workers to organize to change their reality.
Watch Segment: Walmart workers gather for prayer followed by commentary.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtWQl4TlHSg]
Featured Image via video Screen capture from Original Video