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Shana Blackwell quit her job at Walmart via intercom. Maybe you saw the video—she posted it to Twitter in October, and it quickly went viral. “Attention all Walmart shoppers, associates, and managers,” she announced before launching into a speech in which she called out specific employees for having made what she said were racist or sexual comments. “I hope you don’t talk to your daughters the way you talk to me,” she added, naming a group of “perverts.” As for Walmart itself, she said, “This company treats their employees like shit.” She closed by saying, “Fuck the managers, fuck this company, fuck this position….I fucking quit.” At the moment the video has more than 55,000 likes and 11,000 retweets.
I was a CAP 2 associate, which is a night stocker: The shift was 2 o’clock in the afternoon to 11 p.m., and we would unload these trucks full of products for the store and then stock them right after.
CAP 2 is one of the most physical jobs in Walmart. But we got paid the least in the store, and we got yelled at the most, criticized the most, watched like hawks the most. Managers would set an example but expect us to follow another one. They would come back and yell at us and tell us to go faster, then walk away instead of helping us.
The first thing that kind of started going downhill for me is the fact that I would put in so much work and it would not be worth it.
Then the men started getting creepy. They would say things like, “Take off your clothes,” or, “I like to check you out sometimes,” or, “Look at my dick.” It made me feel really uncomfortable. I’ve seen these things happen to girls in the past, but nothing happened, so I didn’t report it. All I did was awkwardly laugh, walk away, mind my business, and keep to myself for the rest of the day.
[Editor’s Note: In a statement, Walmart said it is “committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace and we take every allegation very seriously.” The company said it had “spoken with the person in the video” and is “actively looking into her claims.” It did not respond to an offer to hear specific complaints of sexual harassment and racism made by Blackwell in this interview.]
This year, we started getting more Black CAP 2 associates. They would get fired really quickly—within the first month, or if not the first month, then the second month. They always got fired mysteriously. Specific managers would pick on these Black people and tell them to go faster, and then the next week, they would be gone.
Over a year ago, I brought my boyfriend, who is Black, to Walmart with me, and another employee saw me with him. The next day, the employee came up to me and said, “I didn’t expect your boyfriend to look like that.” I said, “Look like what?” and he said, “Well, like a respectable Black person. Most Black people look like thugs.” And he went on and said more racist things. I went off on him, but nothing happened to him, even after a manager clearly heard the BS he just told me. I didn’t talk to him for as long as I could.
A few weeks before I quit, he became my higher-up, so I was forced to engage with him. He was on this power high, walking around like he owned everybody.
The day that I quit, he put me on this job that I really hate doing: sorting apparel while people are unloading the truck. Throughout the truck unloading, he was yelling and stomping around. It was a two-truck day, so it was already a bad day. The managers were already pissed from the night before because we didn’t finish our jobs or do it right or whatever. Everybody was mad at everybody. The fact that everybody was walking around, stomping on us, yelling at us, and treating us like they have for the past almost two years—that’s what made me upset.
So after we unloaded the first truck, I walked to a phone so I could talk on the intercom, and I said what I had to say.
It felt exhilarating. I was angry, but I was happy. As I spoke these names, I reminisced on the horrible year that I had there, and it just ignited a fire in me that just made me even more angry, but even happier to be saying that and then leaving.
My car was on the other side of Walmart, so I had to walk all the way through the store to leave. On the way out, there were many, many, many people clapping and telling me, “Good job” and “Congratulations” and “Leave,” just very positive things. A bunch of my co-workers were laughing and clapping and recording me, happy that I said what everybody was thinking. I was smiling the whole time I was leaving. I saw a few managers on the way out. They just looked at me disappointed. I waved at them and said my goodbyes.
I hated being another number for some stupid corporation that doesn’t appreciate me. I don’t have a job, and I don’t expect to get one now, because I graduate in December, so I will be my own boss. So far it’s been a really great start to my new career, and I think I’m gonna be fine.