Worker rights advocates are organising a boycott against Walmart after an employee of 18 years claimed he was fired for turning in $350 in loose cash 30 minutes after he found it in a store parking lot.
Mike Walsh, 45, found a stack of bills in early November while he was cleaning the parking lot of the Walmart Neighbourhood Market in Niskayuna, New York, where he worked, The Albany Times-Union reports.
He claims he stuffed the cash in his pocket while he continued cleaning, and then turned the money over to a manager once he finished the job, according to the Times-Union’s report.
Several days later a manager showed Walsh a surveillance tape showing a 30-minute lapse between his discovery of the money and when he turned it in, and he was fired for “gross misconduct,” according to Walsh’s claims.
Now local and national workers’ rights advocates are rallying around Walsh, calling his firing “completely bogus.”
“We cannot allow America’s largest employer to keep treating their employees as disposable and taking away their jobs for no real reasons,” said Jess Levin, a spokeswoman for Making Change at Walmart, a union-backed group fighting for higher wages and better working conditions for Walmart workers. “Walmart MCAW stands with Thomas Smith, Michael Walsh, and everyone in New York and across the country in asking for answers and calling on Walmart to stop these unfair terminations.”
Thomas Smith is another former Walmart worker whose recent firing spurred calls for a Walmart boycott.
When reached for comment on Walsh’s firing, Walmart spokesman Aaron Mullins said, “We have high expectations for our associates that include policies and standards grounded in integrity and truthfulness. We take all associate matters seriously and have procedures in place that enable us to conduct thorough investigations and take action, if necessary. Regarding this specific associate matter, we have nothing further to share at this time.”
Still, the story has some customers voicing their support for Walsh on social media.
“I am disgusted for what you have done to Mike W,” Jennifer Marek wrote on Facebook. “He turned that money in as soon as he was capable. You have no right to judge someone else’s reasons for wanting to be sure things were handled as appropriately as possible. I don’t think a good chunk of people would have even turned it in.”
Another person wrote, “Shame on you Walmart for the firing of Michael Walsh. If this is the way you treat your long-time, loyal employees, I will no longer be a long time loyal customer. My business will go to other stores, no matter how inconvenient.”
Walmart’s treatment of its workers has been under increased scrutiny over the last several years with the rise of workers’ rights campaigns backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
The groups, which have organised protests and strikes at Walmart stores across the country on critical shopping days, including Black Friday, publicize stories like Walsh’s to fuel their campaigns for higher wages and better working conditions.
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