Walmart Workers Plan Big Black Friday Strikes

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In twelve weeks, on the busiest shopping day of the year, Walmart workers will mount what may be the biggest-ever US strike against the retail giant. In an e-mailed statement, a campaign closely tied to the United Food & Commercial Workers union promised “widespread, massive strikes and protests for Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving. A Black Friday strike last year, in which organizers say over 400 workers walked off the job, was the largest and highest-profile action to date by the union-backed non-union workers’ group OUR Walmart, and the largest US strike in the company’s five-decade history.

Walmart is Fine With Unions Unless You Are an American Worker

Walmart Allows Its Workers To Unionize In Other Countries, Just Not In The United States
By Travis Waldron on Jun 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm
To complete its acquisition of Massmart, a chain of retail stores in South Africa, Walmart struck a deal that must seem extraordinary to the company’s American employees. To win government approval of the acquisition, Walmart made concessions to a South African labor union, agreeing to avoid worker layoffs, honor existing union contracts, and use local suppliers.
The idea that Walmart negotiated with and made concessions to a labor union in South Africa may seem odd to workers in the United States, where Walmart has developed a reputation as one of the country’s most virulent opponents of organization efforts. In fact, Walmart’s workers are organized in many of the foreign countries in which it does business.
In Brazil, Argentina, China, the United Kingdom, and now South Africa, some Walmart employees are organized. In China, Walmart is required by law to recognize union membership, and in Mexico, 18 percent of its workers are organized. British labor leaders describe their dealings with Walmart as “honest,” and in Argentina, organized employees make as much as 40 percent more than employees at retailer’s major competitors.
Walmart has a convenient response to why it lets workers organize in these countries, as the Washington Post reports:
“We have a local philosophy,” Wal-Mart International Chief Executive Doug McMillon recently told reporters. “It’s our intention to demonstrate that we are a great corporate citizen.”
In Brazil and Argentina, meanwhile, Walmart says it allows workers to unionize because “that’s what the associates want”:
“We recognize those rights,” said John Peter “J.P.” Suarez , senior vice president of international business development at Walmart. “In that market, that’s what the associates want, and that’s the prevailing practice.”
Apparently for Walmart, however, it matters not what workers want if those workers happen to be American.
article from ThinkProgress  By Travis Waldron  on Jun 8, 2011

OUR Walmart Files NLRB Complaint Against Walmart

 Worker Organization Files Federal Charge against Walmart

OUR Walmart Points to Walmart’s Threats to Workers

November 20, 2012 07:09 PM Eastern Time

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In response to illegal threats from Walmart managers and the company’s national spokesperson, OUR Walmart has filed a charge with the federal government seeking immediate intervention. The charge, filed with the National Labor Relations Board Tuesday afternoon, cites threats by Walmart to attempt to deter workers from participating in legally protected strikes planned for this week, including on Black Friday. OUR Walmart is an organization of Walmart workers from across the country who are calling for changes at Walmart.

“These charges should be investigated swiftly by the NLRB as concerted activity is a protected right. Walmart’s breach here is serious, and needs to be addressed immediately.”

.“I want to send a clear message to Walmart: we will not be silenced,” said Mary Pat Tifft, an OUR Walmart member and 24-year Walmart associate from Kenosha, WI. “As America’s largest employer, we should expect more than threats to our jobs when we speak out for what’s right. Walmart’s attempt to shut down our protests is one more example of the company’s efforts to silence any opposition that they face. We will continue to speak out because there are real problems at Walmart that need to be addressed.”

“We are working hard, trying to get ahead and create a better future for our kids,” Tifft said. “You would think that we’d be able to do that at the country’s largest employer, but when we speak out about our concerns, Walmart has been trying to silence us.”

The planned strikes, which OUR Walmart members announced would be part of 1,000 store protests on and leading up to Black Friday, are in protest of Walmart’s ongoing attempts to silence workers for speaking out for better jobs. Because the planned strikes are in protest to unfair labor practices like silencing workers through scheduling changes, reductions in hours, and even firings, workers are legally protected under federal labor law.

“Freedom of speech and freedom of association are basic rights for all Americans,” said Rev. Eric Lee, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “We cannot allow our country’s largest employer to threaten their employees’ rights in closed-door meetings or in the national news media. Walmart workers should know that we support them.”

On Monday evening, Walmart spokesperson David Tovar made threats to Walmart workers on national television. “There could be consequences,” Tovar said on CBS Evening News of workers who do not come in for scheduled shifts on Black Friday.

“I saw David Tovar from Walmart on the evening news telling me and my coworkers that there would be consequences if we went on strike,” said Dan Hindman, an OUR Walmart member from California who was interviewed on CBS Evening News. “Yes, some of my coworkers are afraid, but this kind of intimidation by Walmart management is an example of why we are going on strike. I know my rights, and I’m not afraid to protest against the way this company has retaliated against workers who are speaking out for what’s good for our families.”

In stores across the country, workers have been facing threats from managers. Workers from a store in Fairfield, Calif., recount their manager telling them: “Home office gave me the freedom to say whatever I want. If any one of you walks off the job or participates in an action on Black Friday that results in the loss of store sales you will be fired and sued.”

“Walmart appears to be issuing serious threats to employees to stop them from exercising their rights under the law,” said Erin Johansson, Research Director, American Rights at Work. “These charges should be investigated swiftly by the NLRB as concerted activity is a protected right. Walmart’s breach here is serious, and needs to be addressed immediately.”

Walmart workers have been speaking out about the company’s manipulation of hours and benefits, efforts to try to keep people from working full-time and their discrimination against women and people of color, but rather than listening to the concerns facing 1.4 million Walmart workers, Walmart has attempted to silence them. Some workers have also been speaking out about the early start of Black Friday sales – on Thanksgiving Day –which will keep many retail workers from being able to spend the holiday with their families. Watch a video from Walmart workers on why they’re standing up or follow the conversation on Twitter at #WalmartStrikers.


OUR Walmart

Lynsey Kryzwick, 646-200-5311


Walmart Workers Strike in Pico Rivera California TODAY Nov. 20, 2012

PICO RIVERA — About a 120 people marched in a circle in front of Walmart’s Supercenter store in Pico Rivera on Tuesday morning chanting slogans and carrying signs in a Black Friday week protest.
“Today is a one-day strike and some of us are going to strike on Friday,” said Victoria Martinez, 29, of Alhambra, who works in the store’s photo department.
She said about 20 workers from the store were on strike Tuesday. They were joined by members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which is trying to organize the Walmart workers, and other sympathetic workers.
The demonstration started shortly before 10 a.m. and ended shortly after noon