St. Paul – This morning 8 clergy joined 15 people from labor and community groups for a press conference at the Brooklyn Center Wal-Mart to call on lawmakers and big corporations to end poverty wages and improve working conditions for Minnesotans.

MinWage PressConf 11 26 13Religious leaders came out to join in solidarity with Wal-Mart worker, April Williams, who went on a one-day strike on Monday to call attention to the need for improved wages and working conditions for herself and her peers.

“Going on strike was a big step for me, because I was scared, just like every other employee,” April said, “I have kids at home and I have to pay bills, but I’m barely making it. I’m like everyone else there who need food stamps – it’s helping but I shouldn’t have to use them. I just want to make a stand and let everyone know that you do have a voice.”

“As a religious leader, I am called to create a community that values the sacredness of every human. All who work hard are entitled to a living wage that provides for the basic necessities,” said Rev. Laurie Eaton, pastor at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, “We want to ensure that today, Wal-Mart and other big corporations get a clear message: we support April and her peers in their quest for economic dignity.”

Rev. Doug Mork, pastor at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church in Brooklyn Center, explained that many people who work full time at big corporations like Wal-Mart, Target, or McDonalds make $350 a week – and sometimes less.

“These corporations use our tax dollars to make up the difference between the low wages they pay and their workers’ basic necessities,” he said, “ That is why today, we are turning to our elected officials, who have the power to reverse the circumstances which create the kind of financial stress that harms individuals, families, and entire communities.”

A small group led by Rev. Mork escorted April into Wal-Mart to end her strike. “We were met by her supervisor and she returned to work,” Rev. Mork said.

This event takes place on the second day of a worker led week of actions centered around ending poverty wages in Minnesota for those workers who make Black Friday happen.