Posted on December 5, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Wal-Mart touts a caring culture. Now, its workers are caring for each other by speaking out.
by Sarah Jaffe
Colby Harris, a Texas Wal-Mart worker fired after striking, traveled to New Jersey to inspire other Wal-Mart workers at a November 29 ‘Black Friday’ action. (Sarah Jaffe)
‘When I saw the food bins in Ohio, it made me think, “Employees are not just hungry on Thanksgiving, they’re hungry every day because they’re getting paid low wages,” ‘ says Tiffany Beroid, a worker at a Wal-Mart in Laurel, Md.
“I’ve come today to represent all the silent Wal-Mart workers that are afraid to stand up for their rights,” Elaine Rozier, a Wal-Mart employee of eight years, told a crowd of about 150 labor activists and community supporters—accompanied by raucous musicians with Occupy Guitarmy and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra—on Friday in Secaucus, N.J., across the street from a well-guarded Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club (the wholesale club owned by Wal-Mart and named for the company’s celebrated founder, Sam Walton). “I’m standing up for my rights, my kids, my grandkids, and their kids,” Rozier said.
Perhaps because of the fear she mentioned, Rozier, who comes from Miami, was one of the only identified Wal-Mart employees in the crowd. Along with Mark Bowers and Colby Harris, two Wal-Mart workers from Texas, Rozier traveled to New Jersey for Black Friday, Wal-Mart’s biggest retail sales day, to demonstrate to the workers inside the Secaucus store that they, too, could stand up for their rights.
Accompanied by ten supporters, the three workers blocked traffic on the street alongside the Wal-Mart, chanting, singing and clapping until police took them away in handcuffs.
The protest was one of hundreds of Black Friday actions organized by OUR Walmart, a United Food and Commercial Workers-backed group of Wal-Mart workers—including Rozier, Bowers and Harris—that has been putting on strikes, protests, and direct actions at Wal-Mart for over a year in support of better wages, benefits and conditions. The first wave of strikes hit in October of 2012, and on Black Friday of that year, some 400 workers reportedly went on strike at stores around the country.
“Stand up, live better” has become the rallying cry of the movement, a twist on the retail giant’s own slogan, “Save money, live better.” On Friday, workers in Secaucus repeatedly echoed the “stand up” line. (more…)
Filed under: Low wage workers, Organizing, Strikes and work action | Tagged: Black Firday, Our Walmart, Walmart, Walmart strikes | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 2, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Barbara Garson
Walmart’s neo-Pinkertons monitoring a
Black Friday protest
I took part in one of the 1500 Walmart protests this past Black Friday. It gave me a new perspective on NSA Surveillance.
Well before noon my husband and I were sitting on a sunny bench in front of the Secaucus, NJ, Walmart. To the Walmart security agents, conferring with groups of Hudson County Sheriff’s officers, we must have looked like the silver haired elderly couple that we are. They didn’t seem to realize that we, like they, were waiting for the demonstrators.
“Some of these demonstrators want to get hit by a cop,” a young security man said. Perhaps he was only currying favor with the “real” cops when he assured them that if such a thing occurred that day, no one would later find those pictures on any Walmart surveillance camera. [At the risk of ruining the suspense, nothing remotely like that happened.] (more…)
Filed under: Low wage workers, Organizing, Strikes and work action | Tagged: Barbara Garson, BlackFriday, neo-PInkertons, Our Walmart, Walmart | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 29, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Here’s a video from today’s Black Friday Protest in the Washington area.
Walmart workers and community supporters in the Washington, D.C. area today protested against Walmart—the nation’s largest retailer—joining 1,500 protests across the nation in one of the largest mobilizations of working families in American history. Workers in the Washington, D.C. area were joined by tens of thousands of Americans in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Seattle, Sacramento, Miami, Minneapolis and other locations who called on Walmart to end illegal retaliation and publicly commit to improving labor standards, including providing workers with more full-time work and $25,000 a year. At a protest at the Walmart store located on Richmond Highway in Alexandria, Va., nine people, including one Walmart worker, were arrested in an act of civil disobedience calling for an end to the exploitation of Walmart workers by their company.
Filed under: Strikes and work action, Video | Tagged: #blackfridayprotests, #walmartstrikers, Black Friday protests, Walmart | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 28, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Laura Clawson
The number of Walmart workers striking on Black Friday will be small compared with the number of allies who come out to support them at an expected 1,500 protests across the country. But workers are making themselves heard ahead of the big day with small strikes across the country this week, making sure that Walmart’s PR department can’t pretend they don’t exist.Tuesday, workers in Columbia and Laurel, Maryland, bringing letters to managers calling for $25,000 a year wages and an end to retaliation against activists. Tuesday’s actions continued a string of strikes: Workers in a Miami and Minnesota Walmart walked off the job Monday, the Minnesota workers joined by Rep. Keith Ellison. Those followed strikes in Tampa, Florida, and Sacramento, California, in the previous days.
The continuing worker activism gains added momentum from recent stories detailing just how badly Walmart does by its workers, like asking workers to donate food to other Walmart workers or the news that the chain could give workers a big raise without raising prices. <a name=”laura”
Laura Clawson writes for Daily Kos Labor where this post first appeared
Filed under: Low wage workers, Solidarity, Strikes and work action | Tagged: #walmartstrikers, Black Friday protests, Walmart, Walmart workers | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 24, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Laura Clawson
Walmart’s been caught trying to make a top-down social media strategy look like a grassroots action by hundreds of hourly workers—the retail giant is astroturfing, in other words. See, a social media “Thunderclap” lets hundreds of people post to Twitter or Facebook at the same time, increasing the likelihood that a topic will trend or at least start to break through the noise. A Thunderclap touting Black Friday as Walmart’s Super Bowl was identified as being from “a proud associate.” But it turns out that proud associate was Umang Shah, Walmart’s director of social strategy. (more…)
Filed under: Low wage workers, Organizing, Strikes and work action, The enemy | Tagged: #blackfridayprotests, astroturfing, Black Friday, Walmart | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 18, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
- Josh Eidelson, Staff Writer, Salon
- Sylvia Fabela, Organizer, OUR Walmart
- Patricia Locks, Walmart worker
- Kendall Fells, Organizing Director, Fast Food Forward
- Amy Traub, Senior Policy Analyst, Demos
Time: November 19th, 6 p.m.
Location: 220 5th Avenue, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10001
Filed under: Conferences and Events, Low wage workers, Organizing | Tagged: Alt-labor, Demos, fast food workers, s, Walmart | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 7, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
On Thursday, November 7 at 5:00pm 100 women and men of conscience will commit an act of non-violent civil disobedience sitting down at Walmart in Chinatown (at the intersection of Cesar Chavez Ave and Grand).
Filed under: Low wage workers, Strikes and work action, Uncategorized | Tagged: Making Change at Walmart, Our Walmart, Walmart | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 6, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Kenneth Quinnell
On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that has become one of the biggest days of retail sales in the United States, Walmart workers and other working families are going to rally at the retail giant’s locations around the country, asking the country’s largest employer to pay its workers a living wage and allow them to come together and speak out for change without fear of retaliation.
Find an action near you at www.blackfridayprotests.com.
Despite making profits of $17 billion this year, Walmart pays its workers such low wages—the majority of the company’s employees in the United States make less than $25,000 a year—that taxpayers effectively provide massive subsidies to the company through food stamps and other programs. Additionally, the company is the biggest beneficiary of food stamp payments, taking in some 18% of the program’s outlays each year, or about $14 billion.
Filed under: Conferences and Events, Low wage workers, Solidarity, Strikes and work action | Tagged: Black Friday, Black Friday protests, Making Change at Walmart, Walmart | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 7, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Fast food workers in dozens of cities staged a national day of strikes on Thursday, August 29. The action sought to galvanize public support for a living wage of $15 per hour, and respect for fast food workers’ right to organize. Employees from restaurants such as McDonald’s and Burger King called on other retail workers around the country to join them in walking off the job. Many employees, who have had to go on food stamps and public assistance to survive on their industry’s wages, felt they had no choice but to protest their treatment by employers. “My family and I are homeless due to poor pay right now,” Regina Mays, a single mother who works at Little Caesars Pizza in Durham, NC, told reporters in advance of the strike.
The strike capped an active year of organizing by employees at McDonald’s, WalMart, and other low-wage chains. At a time when traditional unions are on the decline, scrappy organizing campaigns among low-wage workers, sometimes called “alt-labor,” are capturing the national spotlight. While their prospects of winning union recognition through the cumbersome election process prescribed by federal law are slim, the workers have nevertheless demanded improvements in working conditions and are eager to use legal collective action to draw public attention to their concerns. (more…)
Filed under: Low wage workers, Organizing, Worker Centers | Tagged: Alt-labor, fast food strikes, Low wage workers, Walmart | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 7, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Whenever communities, lawmakers or activists question or criticize Walmart for the way it treats workers—the low-pay, the stores’ impact on the communities—the retail giant pulls out a well-worn script with a simple message, “Walmart creates jobs and if there’s one thing this economy needs, it’s more jobs.”
Setting aside the quality of the jobs for another day, is Walmart telling the truth? Sure doesn’t look like it, according to Salon’s Kathleen Geier, who matches Walmart’s claims against in-depth research from universities, economists, government studies and other sources. Here’s what she finds:
Contrary to Walmart’s self-glorifying mythology, the retailer is anything but a job creator—in fact, it is a huge job killer. Not only that, destroying jobs is an essential component of Walmart’s anti-worker business model. (more…)
Filed under: Economy, Low wage workers | Tagged: Walmart, Walmart job killer | Leave a Comment »