With Inflation Hitting a 40-Year High, Activists Across the Country Call Out Corporations for Price Gouging
Organizers in eight cities participated in a Corporate Greed Day of Action to hold big corporations accountable for using inflation as an excuse to raise prices and rake in record profits
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following the release of the May Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, which showed that the rate of inflation has hit a 40-year high, activists and organizers across the country held events as part of Unrig Our Economy’s Corporate Greed Day of Action to call out corporations for jacking up prices despite making record profits during a pandemic. Events and actions took place in nine different cities across the country, to hold the worst offenders accountable for taking advantage of millions of working people across the country.
“As today’s CPI report confirmed, working people across the country are understandably frustrated and struggling under the continued strain of high prices,” said Sarah Baron, the campaign director of Unrig Our Economy. “Democrats in Congress have consistently demonstrated a commitment to ending corporate price gouging and fighting for working people, while Republicans have continuously obstructed any path towards progress. Today’s National Corporate Greed Day of Action conveys the large-scale frustration toward corporations who are rigging the economy against everyday Americans — and the Republican politicians who are enabling them to continue exploiting consumers.”
Over the last several weeks and months, Democrats in Congress have been fighting to end corporate greed and price gouging, introducing bill after bill, while Republicans have continuously attempted to block their efforts. Most recently, House Democrats passed the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act in response to egregious price gouging by big oil and gas companies that raised the price of gas to record highs while their own profits skyrocketed. Meanwhile, reports have revealed that dozens of GOP members are taking millions of dollars in donations from the same companies they are trying to shield from accountability for price gouging.
Thanks to corporate greed, working families are seeing dramatic increases in the price of basic necessities: in May, gas hit a record high of $4.59 per gallon; in April, grocery prices increased 9 percent; and for months, families have struggled with a nationwide baby formula shortage. And prices are still expected to go up even higher in the summer. Meanwhile, companies like Shell, Tyson, and Kellogg’s are claiming record high profits and lining the pockets of executives and shareholders.
Events and actions were held in Bakersfield, CA; Cincinnati, OH; Indianapolis, IN; Houston, TX; Omaha, NE; Phoenix, AZ; Staten Island, NY; and Waterloo, IA. Throughout the day, organizers from all over the country and key partners, along with the Unrig mascot, a giant inflatable “corporate fat cat” named Mr. Rigs, sent a message to big corporations: end corporate price gouging.
“Over the last two years, working-class Hoosiers have kept our communities afloat and functioning in the face of global catastrophe,” said Josh Riddick, an organizer with Faith in Indiana’s Black Church Coalition. “Our elected officials celebrate their sacrifice in words, while their actions speak louder, allowing for record-breaking inflation and price gouging. Our communities deserve an economy that works for them and not one rigged against them.”
“Americans are paying attention. We know costs are up because big corporations have been greedy. Billionaire CEOs are gouging prices, making record profits, then blaming inflation while families struggle to make ends meet,” said Desiree Tims, the president and CEO of Innovation Ohio. “Gas doesn’t need to cost this much. It’s time for Republicans like Steve Chabot and Brad Wenstrup to do their jobs and stop blocking Democrats’ efforts to lower costs for families.”
“Corporate greed has given Big Oil the record-high profits they’re enjoying right now while Arizona families struggle to pay higher and higher prices at the pump,” said Les Braswell, executive director of Advancing AZ. “The nation’s largest oil and gas companies, like Chevron, Exxon and Shell, are taking advantage of customers who have no alternative to paying these astronomical gas prices.”
“The pain that Nebraska families are feeling at the grocery store and at the gas pump is greatly exacerbated by corporations like Kellogg’s taking advantage of economic factors to pump up profits and payouts to corporate executives,” said Kevin Cass, a spokesperson for Unrig Our Economy Nebraska. “Meanwhile, Rep. Don Bacon continues to enable this behavior by voting in favor of the interests of massive corporations like Kellogg’s and against those of his constituents. He recently voted against H.R. 7688, the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act, despite the fact that consumers are reeling from the rising cost of gas and energy prices across the country, all while oil companies rake in record profits.”
“Prices on everyday goods are sky-rocketing while corporations make record profits. CEOs get bonuses but working Americans don’t see any boost in pay,” said Erica Capp, a spokesperson for Unrig Our Economy Central Valley. “Men and women in our community work hard to produce the dairy and produce that feed America. We stand with them in calling for elected representatives and economic policies that reward their work and hold corporations accountable.”
“As if things haven’t been hard enough for New Yorkers during the pandemic, we also face some of the nation’s highest price hikes due to big corporations squeezing consumers to make astronomical profits and funnel extra cash to CEOs and shareholders,” said Chris Fleming, a spokesperson for Unrig Our Economy New York City. “Unfortunately, some politicians in Washington, like Congresswoman Malliotakis, make clear through their votes that they don’t care if Big Oil price gouges consumers or parents are forced to go without baby formula. New Yorkers deserve a representative who fights to advance the economic interests of working people, not one like Rep. Malliotakis beholden to the rich and powerful corporations that fund her campaign.”
“Representative Ashley Hinson knows Iowans are struggling to keep up with corporate price gouging, but instead of tackling the issue she’s trying to redirect the blame and distract us from holding wealthy companies accountable,” said Sue Dinsdale, executive director of Iowa Citizen Action Network and a spokesperson for Unrig Our Economy Iowa. “Rather than making excuses, Rep. Hinson needs to start holding these corporations accountable. We need her to choose where she stands, with corporations who are raking in record profits or the everyday Iowans who elected her.”
“Texans are tired of working multiple jobs to make ends meet while Shell, Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, Ted Cruz and other wealthy corporate elites pick their pockets. Their greed had deadly consequences, as we witnessed firsthand when our power grid collapsed,” said Daniel Cohen, co-founder and president of Indivisible Houston. “As prices for everyday goods skyrocket and Texans struggle to fill their tanks and put food on the table, our representatives should be focused on lowering costs for the people they represent and ensuring our safety, not further enriching the corporations exploiting us.”
“The unions of the Texas Gulf Coast are proud to stand with working people across the country coming together today to demand a fair shot. While we’re struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads, corporations are padding their profits and driving up costs for the rest of us,” said Jay Malone from the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation. “The unchecked greed of the very few is spreading suffering throughout our communities, and it’s well past time that our leaders, the ones we elect, step up and even the scales. We all have a responsibility to ourselves, our families, and our neighbors, to come together and demand the world we deserve. If we all speak together with one voice, we can knock down these institutions of oppression and build a better future.”