DC-area social justice advocates got a special treat Monday night: Sandy Carpenter, a former Walmart associate, joined the American Rights at Work annual awards celebration to present an award and share her inspiring story. Carpenter was fired from her position at Walmart after trying to organize a union in her store, but continues to advocate for the rights of Walmart workers across the country. It was very appropriate, then, that she presented the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award to actor and activist, James Cromwell.
Carpenter gave high praise to Cromwell for all the work he has done throughout his career to promote workers' rights, including his efforts to highlight how Walmart treats its employees. Cromwell has often joined picket lines with workers and appeared in commercials for the critical documentary WALMART- The High Cost of Low Price. He is also an active member of the Screen Actor's Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio. Everyone in the audience agreed: Carpenter's speech on her experience with Walmart and presentation of the award were very inspirational and empowering.
Bo McCurry was another very moving speaker at the celebration. McCurry works at the Philips plant in Sparta, Tenn. The plant is closing down despite the fact that it has been repeatedly honored as productive and effective. The plant has also begun to outsource jobs to Mexico. At the celebration, McCurry gave an incredible speech on his fight for workers' rights.
Carpenter and McCurry represent what UFCW works towards everyday: a safe and fair environment for American workers.