How Walmart Organizers Turned the Internet Into a Shop Floor

Walmart workers and organizers prove ‘clicktivism’ can evolve into offline activism.

by  Sarah Jaffe

 

walmart_strikers_social_media_our_make_change_facebook_twitter_clicktivism.jpg The basic tools of labor organizing haven’t changed in hundreds of years. There’s no substitute for face-to-face conversations about working conditions and what can be done to change them. Organizers still make home visits, and workers still talk to one another in the break room or the parking lot.

But in the new wave of low-wage worker organizing that has swept the country in the past two years, some labor groups have begun to use the Internet to facilitate the kinds of personal conversations that lead to workplace action. As unions, community organizations, workers centers and even “netroots” groups like MoveOn.org pour resources into organizing a massive, diffuse fast-food and retail workforce that had often been written off as unorganizable, the web has provided a cheap, effective tool to reach low-wage workers in ways that are both personal and lasting. In particular, the United Food and Commercial Workers-backed groups OUR Walmart and Making Change at Walmart have enthusiastically experimented with web tools in their recent efforts to make a difference at the nation’s biggest retailer. Continue reading

Thursday Civil Disobedience at Los Angles Walmart as Worker Actions Resume

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).
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Coming Soon to a Walmart Near You: Black Friday Protests for Living Wages

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.