We have written before about the Southern California warehouse workers’ fifteen day walkout and their #WalMarch to LA, the sympathetic strike that is still on going at a warehouse in Illinois, and the riot-policed rally of activists that came out to support it. But today, for what Salon says is the “first time in Walmart’s fifty-year history, workers at multiple stores are out on strike.”
This means workers at actual Walmart superstores went on strike, a step beyond the actions by warehouse workers who are employees of contractors in Walmart’s supply chain, which lets the firm hide behind a barrier of implausible ignorance and what in a just world would be an indefensible denial of responsibility. Today, because the strike is at the stores, the protest is more visible, affecting the retail giant more directly. Walmart can no longer claim that only a supplier is to blame for the abuses the workers are protesting.
The one-day walkout has been orchestrated by OUR Walmart, a group of store workers who have banded together outside of union protection -- although they do have the support of the UFCW -- to protest the poor working conditions of the world’s largest retailer. The law technically protects the strikers from termination and management reprisals, but in the past Wal-Mart has punished members of the organization just for belonging to it.
Wrongfully terminated or sanctioned strikers have the opportunity to file an Unfair Labor Practices suit, but the commercial giant has the resources to contest or ignore those cases practically forever, and the protracted process is of little comfort to newly fired? workers.
Walmart and the Waltons have been fanatically anti-union for the entire lifetime of the chain and they have had an unbroken fifty-year run of success, but that might now be changing. The new crop of protests and union-backed efforts is interstate, multi-store, highly organized and well-coordinated, and it targets both the stores and the supply chain. OUR Walmart and its allies across the country are our newest hope and our best one, and we’re looking for the fire to spread.
Stand Up, Live Better.
Show your support for the Walmart workers on strike by signing this petition.
image via ufcw.org