Walmart corporate employee who urged gun sales protest says 30 people walked off the job in support. Now he's sending a petition with 46,000 signatures to the CEO

  • Roughly 30 Walmart employees took part in a planned walkout on Wednesday to protest the retailer's gun sales, according to Thomas Marshall, a Walmart e-commerce employee who helped organize the walkout. 
  • Marshall told Business Insider "a lot of people reached out to express that they support us but were afraid to come to the walkout for fear of retaliation or damaging their reputation or opportunities for promotion." 
  • Marshall and other workers next plan to send a petition, which has gathered more than 46,000 signatures, to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon demanding that the company end gun sales.
  • Walmart has said it has no plans to stop selling guns or ammunition in the wake of two recent shootings at Walmart stores, which killed at least 22 people in El Paso, Texas, and two Walmart employees in Southaven, Mississippi. The company said it has encouraged employees to express their opinions to management following the shootings. 

Roughly 30 Walmart employees took part in a planned walkout on Wednesday to protest the retailer's gun sales, according to Thomas Marshall, who helped organize the walkout. 

"We're all very pleased with the walkout, and proud of everyone who showed up despite the risks of retaliation," Marshall, an e-commerce employee who works in the company's San Bruno, California, office, told Business Insider on Wednesday.

He said the environment in the San Bruno office on Wednesday was "very tense."

"A lot of people reached out to express that they support us but were afraid to come to the walkout for fear of retaliation or damaging their reputation or opportunities for promotion," he said.

Another Walmart e-commerce employee at the company's office in Hoboken, New Jersey, told Business Insider that they were not aware of anyone who participated in the walkout at that location.

In response, Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said, "We encourage associates to express their point of view to management and we have provided company channels to help them with that."

"We know this has been a sensitive issue given everything that has happened," Hargrove added. "So we have reminded our associates that safety is our top priority and we want to hear what's on their minds, and if they have concerns, to reach out to the right people."

Workers plan to send a petition to Walmart CEO demanding an end to gun sales

Walmart has said it has no plans to stop selling guns or ammunition in the wake of two recent shootings at Walmart stores, which killed at least 22 people in El Paso, Texas and two Walmart employees in Southaven, Mississippi.

Marshall said he and other workers plan to continue putting pressure on the company to make changes to its gun policies.

He said he next plans to send a petition to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon that asks Walmart to stop selling guns and ammunition in its stores, ban people from carrying guns onto company property, and cease donations to politicians who accept money from the National Rifle Association.

The petition has gathered more than 46,000 signatures since Tuesday.

"We have one demand, and that is all," the petition reads. "We value Walmart and our fellow associates, but we are no longer willing to contribute our labor to a company that profits from the sale of deadly weapons."

McMillon on Tuesday said the company will be "thoughtful and deliberate" in its responses to the recent shootings at its stores.

Read more:Walmart CEO promises 'thoughtful and deliberate' response to 2 deadly shootings at its stores

"We're a learning organization, and we'll work to understand the many important issues arising from El Paso and Southaven as well as those raised in the broader national discussion around gun violence," McMillon said in a note addressed to Walmart employees that was posted Tuesday to social media. "We'll be thoughtful and deliberate in our responses, and will act in a way that reflects our best values and ideals, focused on the needs of our customers, associates and communities."

As Business Insider previously reported, Marshall's efforts began Monday, when he sent a mass email to Walmart's e-commerce team urging workers to strike on Tuesday to protest gun sales. Marshall also posted the call to strike on company Slack channels.

After he sent the email, Walmart on Tuesday temporarily suspended Marshall's access to his company email and Slack.

Hargrove said company email and Slack channels are meant to help associates do their work, so Marshall regained access to both when he returned to work on Wednesday.

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