Amy Traub is the Director of Research at the Drum Major Institute. She lives in Manhattan Valley with her husband.
A native of the Cleveland area, Traub is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Chicago. She received a graduate fellowship to study political science at Columbia University, where she earned her Masters degree in 2001 and completed coursework towards a Ph.D. Her studies focused on comparative political economy, political theory, and social movements.
Funded by a field research grant from the Tinker Foundation, Amy Traub conducted original research in Mexico City, exploring the development of the Mexican student movement.
Before coming to the Drum Major Institute, Amy Traub headed the research departmentof a major New York City labor union, where her efforts contributed to the resolution of strikes and successful union organizing campaigns by hundreds of working New Yorkers. She has also been active on the local political scene working with progressive elected officials.
- Amy Traub is a graduate student in Political Science at Columbia University. Clifton Poole is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago. They spent the past summer in Mexico City, and are both members of the Young Democratic Socialists.
OURWalmart Black Friday protests
In a Nov. 22, 2013 press conference, members of OURWalmart announced that workers throughout the U.S. are planning strikes, walkouts, and demonstrations at 1,500 Walmart locations - up from 1,200 in 2012.
The actions will be "one of the largest mobilizations of working families in American history," organizers said. Protesters will call for Walmart to raise its labor standards, including increasing wages and ceasing to threaten its employees with disciplinary measures when they attempt to organize.
Conference moderator Barbara Gertz, a five-year Walmart worker from Colorado, noted that more than half of the big-box giant's hourly employees make less than $25,000 per year. She remarked, "Why do we, workers at the world's largest company, have to band together just to afford Thanksgiving dinner? Yes, Walmart 'associates' stick together and look out for each other. We have to, because Walmart and the Waltons seem to be fine with the financial struggles we're all facing."
As noted in a follow-up press release, "Walmart makes more than $17 billion in profits, with the wealth of the Walton family totaling over $144.7 billion - equal to that of 42 percent of Americans."
Amy Traub, a senior policy analyst and OURWalmart member, pointed out that there's simply no excuse for that sharp inequality. There are clearly measures the corporation could take to treat its workers more fairly. For example, she said, "We looked at the billions that Walmart spends annually on unproductive investments on Wall Street. If it diverted these funds, it could raise workers' wages. Walmart also spends money on share buybacks, which don't always even benefit investors in the long term. This, too, could be going to workers."
She noted, however, "Walmart's current business model is certainly benefiting the heirs to the Walton fortune. But unfortunately, that's not the case for workers, or for taxpayers who end up subsidizing Walmart's payroll."