via Huffington Post:
“The company website declares that “a job at Walmart opens the door to a better life” and “the chance to grow and build a career.” But interviews with 31 hourly workers and one former store manager reveal lives beset by paychecks too small to handle the bills, difficult to manage part-time schedules with hours subject to constant change, and little reason to hope for career advancement. Citing fear of losing their jobs, most spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The testimonials of these workers are confirmed by Walmart’s official compensation policy, an internal company document obtained by The Huffington Post, titled the “Field Non-Exempt Associate Pay Plan Fiscal Year 2013.” The plan details a rigid pay structure for hourly employees that makes it difficult for most to rise much beyond poverty-level wages.
Low-level workers typically start near minimum wage, and have the potential to earn raises of 20 to 40 cents an hour through incremental promotions. Flawless performance merits a 60 cent raise per year under the policy, regardless of how much time an employee has worked for the company. As a result, a “solid performer” who starts at Walmart as a cart pusher making $8 an hour and receives one promotion, about the average rate, can expect to make $10.60 after working at the company for 6 years.
The Walmart pay plan is organized around seven levels of job difficulty for hourly workers, called Position Pay Grades (PPGs), ranging from cart-pushers (Level 1) and cashiers (Level 3), to cake decorators (Level 4) and customer service managers (Level 6). Each subsequent pay grade offers 20 to 40 cents more than the previous level, according to the document. This means that the base rate of pay for a top hourly position at Walmart, like a check-out supervisor, is $1.70 more than that of the lowest paying job.”
pdf of walmarts pay policy
complete article at:
update fri 11/16 Wal-Mart filed an unfair labor practice charge against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, or UFCW, asking the National Labor Relations Board to halt what the retailer says are unlawful attempts to disrupt its business.
update worker actions spread to Texas
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — Hundreds of Walmart workers walked off the job on Thursday, and the employees are now threatening to strike on one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
Walmart workers are not unionized, but growing unrest over what they call low wages, shortened hours and few benefits has some of the employees threatening to strike.
more from googlenews
Strikes and protests aimed at disrupting the retail giant Walmart during next week’s Black Friday sales events began on Thursday with walk-outs at a number of stores and the promise of more actions in the lead-up to what is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.
The news comes amid controversy about plans by Walmart and other large chains to open on Thanksgiving evening, kicking off Black Friday a day early. It also comes as another strike has hit part of Walmart’s warehouse supply chain in southern California.
At least 30 workers from six different Seattle-area Walmarts have gone on strike, organisers and Walmart staff from the OUR Walmart group said. The group, which is not a union but has close ties with the labour movement, is seeking to protest what it says is low pay, too few hours and retaliation by managers against workers who speak out.
source the Guardian UK:
Next Wave of Walmart Worker Actions Kicks Off with California Strike
Walmart warehouse workers striking with the help of Warehouse Workers United. (Amy Whelan / Flickr / Creative Commons)
Outside a Walmart distribution center in Mira Loma, Calif. yesterday, a few dozen striking workers were joined by throngs of chanting supporters to protest alleged retaliation against workers who complained about safety hazards.
Today, hundreds of supporters joined them at the warehouse, where law enforcement officers arrested six community leaders for acts of non-violent civil disobedience. Among those arrested was a local clergyman who sat down in the road in front of the warehouse, temporarily blocking trucks approaching the loading docks.
The strike is one of more than a thousand protests, walkouts, and other actions workers in the Walmart retail empire are planning over the next week, culminating on the big “Black Friday” shopping day. After an initial round of lengthy warehouse strikes and quick retail strikes in late September, a new surge started with one store in Richmond, Calif.; then three stores last week in Dallas. Yesterday, workers walked out at one store in San Leandro, Calif., followed today by workers at six stores in Seattle.
Strikers at the southern California warehouse allege that the staffing agency Warestaff retaliated against participants in a two-week strike over safety issues in late September and early October. According to Warehouse Workers United (a workers’ center in the Inland Empire complex of southern California distribution centers), Warestaff has shortened many strikers’ work weeks from the usual 30 to 40 hours down to as little as 8 hours, even as it hires new workers. Organizers believe Warestaff was acting under orders from Walmart; Warestaff is contracted by NFI Transportation, which operates the giant Mira Loma transportation hub exclusively for Walmart.
Yesterday’s strike was launched a day early in response to what organizers saw as a new round of retaliation by Warestaff. On Monday, Warestaff sent a large group of workers home early, even though workers estimated there was a sizeable line-up of 150 trailers that needed unloading. Then the company told most of the strike cadre to stay home Tuesday. When they learned about the lost workday, the core of the strike leaders decided to start their walkout a day early but to continue with a strike and supporter rally on Thursday.
Speaking up for workers’ rights gets you straight-up fired, warehouse employees say
A September full of direct action and progress for workers’ rights group Warehouse Workers United (WWU) came at a high cost for the outspoken David Garcia.
“I was fired for trying to make the warehouse where I worked safer,” Garcia tells the Weekly. “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.”
Garcia—a father of five sons who already struggles to make ends meet when duly employed—was among the dozen on-strike Walmart-subcontracted employees at NFI Industries in Mira Loma who picketed and participated in a 50-mile, six-day march from the Inland Empire to Downtown Los Angeles last month. “WalMarch” brought international awareness to the ongoing plight of warehouse workers caught in a white-collar web that allows the world’s largest corporation to exploit supply chain workers through the questionable—sometimes illegal—practices of logistic firms and temporary staffing agencies.
The emerging leader in the warehouse worker movement was passionate as he spoke to supporters and media before the launch of WalMarch in the WWU parking lot. Garcia told the crowd he understood the risk he is taking for speaking up, but he had determined the decision had to be made for the betterment of his future.
more from yahoo news on “walmart strike”
Walmart Black Friday Strike
Update (10 pm Tuesday, November 13): According to a Warehouse Workers United spokesperson, Mira Loma warehouse workers experienced a new wave of retaliation Tuesday. In response, the workers decided tonight to begin their strike a day early, at 8 am Pacific Time Wednesday. The strike will continue into Thursday, when workers will rally with supporters as originally planned.
Thursday, Walmart warehouse workers are headed back to the picket line. At 8 am PST, twenty-some workers in Mira Loma, California, plan to launch a one-day walkout that could spread to more workers, including retail employees in Walmart stores. Thursday’s strike will be the latest in an unprecedented wave of work stoppages throughout the retail giant’s US supply chain. It follows strikes by seafood workers in June, by warehouse workers in September, and by 160 retail workers in twelve states last month. It comes a week before Black Friday, the post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza that workers have pledged—barring concessions from the company—will bring their biggest disruptions yet.
“Hopefully it will make a dent in their production…” said Raymond Castillo, “and it gets their attention, that we’re not playing around.” Castillo and other Mira Loma workers struck in September, and voted Sunday to do it again on Thursday. According to Castillo, workers started organizing because of unsafe and unsanitary conditions: crooked ramps caused serious injuries; workers’ drinking water came from a hose. The organizing brought retaliation, which inspired a strike, which drew more punishment. “Since we’ve all been retaliated against,” said Castillo, “it was a pretty easy decision for all of us to go back on strike.”
Walmart workers at various stores around the country are on strike today, protesting poor working conditions and alleged retaliation for their attempts to organize.
Workers strike Thursday outside a Southern California Walmart store. (Photo: Organization United for Respect—Our Walmart). The one-day strike was expected to culminate in a mass rally outside a store in Pico Rivera, Calif., this afternoon.
OUR Walmart, a coalition of Walmart workers and other sympathizers, organized the protest.
According to Salon.com, Pico Rivera Wal-Mart employee Evelin Cruz said “I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m scared … But I think the time has come, so they take notice that these associates are tired of all the issues in the stores, all the management retaliating against you.” Rivera, a department manager, said her store is chronically understaffed: “They expect the work to be done, without having the people to do the job.”
According to a release from the group, although Walmart’s more than 4,000 stores employ 1.4 million people in the United States, “For too many of us, the economy Walmart helped create isn’t working—but we have the power to change it.”
OUR Walmart’s objectives include, but are not limited to, minimum pay of $25,000 a year, quality, affordable health coverage; that Walmart and the Walton family sign “a global labor agreement” guaranteeing employees the right to organize; and that they guarantee that contractors and subcontractors will “provide living wages and worker safety protections, respect basic human and labor rights including freedom of association, and freedom from racial and gender discrimination,” according to the release.