Posted on December 26, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Amy B. Dean
Amy B. Dean
This was a tumultuous year for working people and their families. From the grassroots uprisings last winter to the low-wage workers’ strikes at year’s end, 2012 saw many people coming together for the first time and finding their voices. Below are the items that I would highlight as the best and worst developments of 2012 in the world of labor and progressive social movements. (more…)
Filed under: Economy, Low wage workers, Organizing, Politics | Tagged: Chicago Teachers strikes, NAFTA, Prop 32, TransPacific Partnership, Walmart strike | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 28, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Jim Nichols
(Nov 24) So I’ve got final papers for class to write so I don’t really have time to do the kind of in-depth structured/well-edited blog post I want to write on yesterday’s historic Walmart strike and the solidarity picket lines held all across the country.
Instead I’m going to throw out some of my thoughts and some of the pictures I shot from yesterday’s action here in Atlanta. Hopefully it’ll come out clear and coherent enough for you.
Pardon my ramble…
As someone who was watching the Occupy Wall Street movement quite closely from right out of the gate I can say that I’m feeling the same level of excitement with what transpired all across the nation yesterday that I felt with Occupy.
I remember sitting at the Occupy Atlanta General Assembly the weekend before OA voted to occupy the park being simply overwhelmed with enthusiasm.
I also remember quite clearly driving back into the suburbs that evening to meet up for dinner with the wife and some friends and being struck with internal confusion about the fact that neither my wife nor friends could really care less, nor quite catch on from my slight pokes and prods about the reasons for my jovial excitement in regards to what was about to blow up here in Atlanta.
I feel a similar sense of excitement about the efforts by employees at Walmart @ForRespect.
Filed under: Labor and Occupy, Low wage workers, Organizing | Tagged: @ForRespect, occupy, Our Walmart, Walmart, Walmart strike | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 23, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Amy Dean
United Food and Commercial Workers’ Pat O’Neill talks about the difficulty of organizing retail and the new tactics that have been developed, shoppers’ support and Walmart workers’ extraordinary courage in the rolling actions leading up to Black Friday.
This fall has witnessed a wave of rolling strikes and other employee actions at America’s largest private-sector employer: Walmart. The actions, spread across more than a dozen cities, have been the first in the retailer’s 50-year history. This week, things are set to get bigger: Walmart associates across the country are now promising pickets, leafleting, and creative flash mobs on and around Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.
One of the main groups involved in planning the actions has been OUR Walmart, a labor-community organization for Walmart employees, backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). Rather than going through the arduous process of forming a traditional union by signing up majorities in each store, they have developed a more flexible process for employees to get involved early on. Smaller groups can use OUR Walmart to take collective action to advocate for rights and for better conditions. Such advocacy harkens back to the early days of the US labor movement, before the labor laws of the New Deal institutionalized processes for collective bargaining. It may also be a bellwether for future employee action, reflecting an age in which labor law has again failed to catch up with the reality of the American economy.
To get inside insight on the new activism taking place at Walmart, I talked with UFCW Organizing Director Pat O’Neill. We discussed the rolling strikes, the revived use of “minority unions,” and why OUR Walmart is not calling for a boycott.
Filed under: Low wage workers, Organizing, Strikes and work action | Tagged: minority unions, Our Walmart, UFCW, Walmart strike | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 15, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Unfair Labor Practice Charges Are Filed with the National Labor Relations Board
Warehouse Workers for Justice
Wednesday November 14, 2012, warehouse workers filed charges of unfair labor practices against four employers operating Walmart’s largest distribution center located in Elwood, IL.
Schneider Logistics, Roadlink Workforce Solutions, Select Remedy and Skyward Employment Service are all charged with violating workers rights under the law. Illegal threats, intimidation and discipline against workers organizing for improved conditions are the bases for the unfair labor practice charges filed today.
“We work hard and deserve to be paid fairly, have a safe workplace and be treated with dignity as human beings. If Walmart thinks we will be silenced by this illegal retaliation, they are wrong” said Walmart warehouse worker Phil Bailey.
In Mira Loma, CA today dozens of warehouse workers walked off the job at a Walmart-contracted warehouse Wednesday morning to call for an end to continued retaliation against workers advocating for fair treatment and safe conditions.
Filed under: Low wage workers, Strikes and work action | Tagged: Walmart, Walmart strike, Warehouse Workers for Justice | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 14, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Joe Burns
Now that the elections are over, trade unionists should be clear on one point: President Obama’s reelection will have little effect on the long term future of unionism in the United States. This is not to say the election was unimportant or to even argue that labor’s electoral strategy was misplaced. Rather, it is simply to say that the decades’ long decline of unionism cannot be reversed (or even significantly impacted) by a Presidential election.
This is not to say that the recent election did not matter. The parties do differ on social issues, on issues of tax policy, and on limited issues of labor rights. Nor is it to discount Republican threats, such as right to scab legislation or measures attacking public employee bargaining. In the coming months, major battles loom such as the manufactured “fiscal cliff,” important questions of taxation, and hopefully even a fight over anti-democratic Senate filibuster rules. All of these are important reasons for the labor movement not to simply ignore the political arena.
It is equally important, however, that unionists be clear that the decline in union density cannot be resolved at the ballot box. While this point may seem obvious, given labor’s constant pull towards electoral politics reviewing the reason this is the case may be useful.
Filed under: Organizing, Politics, Strikes and work action | Tagged: AFL-CIO, Black Friday, Obama, Walmart strike | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 12, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Workers Call for an End to Chilling Retaliation at Warehouse that Moves Walmart Goods
Warehouse Workers United
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Warehouse workers vowed to walk off the job this week if retaliation at a Walmart-contracted warehouse does not end. They plan to hold a rally and picket line Thursday morning in Mira Loma, California.
“I was fired for trying to make the warehouse where I worked safer,” said David Garcia, a warehouse worker. “It’s been tough. My kids need food, school supplies and an apartment to sleep at night, but right now it is difficult to provide them these basic things.”
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: supply chain, Walmart, Walmart strike, Warehouse Workers United | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 15, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Laura Clawson
After walkouts spread to Walmart stores in 12 states Tuesday, one of the groups organizing workers told Steven Greenhouse that they have no intention of stopping:
Mr. Schlademan, director of the union-backed Making Change at Walmart campaign, added that more than 200 employees were traveling to Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to stage a protest on Wednesday during the company’s annual meeting with financial analysts.He warned that disgruntled Wal-Mart employees, joined by labor unions and community groups, might stage a combined protest and educational campaign the Friday after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.
Filed under: Strikes and work action | Tagged: Black Friday, Our Walmart, Walmart, Walmart strike | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 4, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
For the First Time in History, Walmart Faces a Strike Over its Illegal Retaliation and Attempts to Silence Associates who are Speaking out for Better Jobs
Community Supporters Join Workers to Call on Walmart and Chairman Rob Walton to Stop Retaliation against Workers who speak out against Poverty Jobs that are Hurting the American Economy
LOS ANGELES –As communities across the country raise their voices in calls for changes at Walmart, workers from nearly a dozen stores in the Los Angeles-area went on strike this morning in the first-ever Walmart Associate walk-out in protest of attempts to silence and retaliate against workers for speaking out for improvements on the job. Hundreds of community supporters, including Dr. Jose Moreno, Executive Director of Los Amigos, Maria Elena Durazo, Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Rev. Eric Lee, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, are joining Walmart Associates in their ongoing calls on Walmart and Chairman Rob Walton to address take home pay so low that Associates are forced to rely on public programs to support their families and understaffing that is keeping workers from receiving sufficient hours and is also hurting customer service. The company has not only refused to address these concerns that are affecting 1.4 million Associates across the country, it has attempted to silence those who speak out and has retaliated against workers for raising concerns that would to help the company, workers and the community.
“Walmart should not be silencing workers for standing up for what’s good for my store, my co-workers, my family and my community,” said Venanzi Luna, a striking worker at the Pico Rivera Walmart. Luna is one of thousands of members of OUR Walmart, the nationwide Associate organization calling for changes at the company. “I am striking to take a stand against Walmart’s illegal bullying tactics.” (more…)
Filed under: Low wage workers, Strikes and work action | Tagged: Our Walmart, UFCW, Walmart, Walmart strike | 1 Comment »