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 Workers Strike At Miami-Area Store VIDEO EN ESPANOL

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In an unexpected act of collective frustration, dozens of Walmart associates walked off the job at the Hialeah Walmart on 9300 NW 77th avenue in Miami, Florida on Friday Oct 18th, 2013.  As many as 80 workers joined the walk-out after complaining of poor wages and mistreatment.The spontaneous strike was not organized by any organization nor did it appear to be planned in advance. During the strike, customers reported incredibly long lines while associates reported that managers were being called in from other Walmarts in the region as replacement workers for the registers and other positions.In the afternoon, the striking workers agreed to a meeting with management. After hearing of the strike, 1Miami and other community members rushed to the Hialeah Walmart to support the workers.  “Walmart has to do some serious soul-searching and ask itself why so many workers are willing to risk everything to take a stand for respect,” said 1Miami’s Eric Brakken.
English subtitles
Workers at a Walmart store in Hialeah Gardens, Fla., walked off the job Friday morning in protest of management, demanding that they be given full-time work.

It wasn’t clear early Friday afternoon how many workers took part in the strike, and Walmart said it doesn’t know how many employees were involved.

In a photo of the scene emailed to The Huffington Post, one man held up a sign reading, “Queremos Nuestras 40 Horas,” or “We Want Our 40 Hours.”


“Customers going to the Walmart in Hialeah Gardens didn’t get the usual greeting as they walked into the store Friday.

Instead, they saw about 100 employees from the store, at 9300 77th Ave., who had walked off the job in the morning to demand a change in management.

At 9 a.m., employees gathered outside the front of the store and started to march, chanting for better hours and fair treatment.”

Empleados de Walmart hacen huelga exigiendo trato justo

Joey Flechas      The Miami Herald

    Los clientes que acudían a comprar al Walmart de Hialeah Gardens no recibieron el saludo usual cuando entraron a la tienda el viernes.

En lugar de eso, vieron a unos 100 empleados de la tienda, situada en el 9300 77 Avenue, quienes abandonaron sus puestos de trabajo en la mañana para exigir un cambio de gerencia.

Walmart Added As Defendent in Supply Chain Lawsuit

via InTheseTimes

Walmart may soon find it harder to avoid responsibility, as it has in the past, for the mistreatment of workers in its long supply chain.

Lawyers who sued temporary labor firms in a giant Walmart warehouse last year for violating federal and state laws with their abusive labor practices today took what they described as the “historic” step of adding Walmart as a defendant in the case.

They claimed that their investigation and depositions undertaken for the original suit filed in October 2011 show that Walmart really  “calls the shots” at the warehouse and should be held liable along with its subcontractors for “stealing millions of dollars from the low-wage warehouse workers who move Walmart merchandise,” as Michael Rubin, an attorney for the workers, wrote to the Center for Public Integrity.

The updated charges included six theories supporting the claim that Walmart is legally a joint employer and shares liabilities with the contractors, arguing that the relationship is not that between an arm’s length provider of services or goods, like a painting contractor or bookkeeping firm that a small business might hire. The amendment to the lawsuit calls Schneider “closely-controlled” by Walmartuntil last year most if not all Schneider managers had e-mail addressesand notes that a Walmart-owned security firm is responsible for protecting the warehouse.

court filing:

Warehouse Workers United WWU


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

STUDY: How a $12.00 An Hour Wage Standard Would Impact Walmart Workers and Shoppers



Should policy makers consider supporting legislation that would raise wages at Walmart? Should they be concerned that low-income shoppers will bear the cost if Walmart is required to increase its minimum wage to $12 an hour?

Our data suggests that a $12 per hour minimum wage standard at Walmart would be effective in aiding lower-income families. If Walmart increased its minimum wage to $12 per hour, 41.4 percent of the income gain would accrue to workers with wages below 200 percent FPL. These low-wage workers could expect to earn an additional $1,670 to $6,500 a year in income.

If Walmart passed on 100 percent of the wage increase to consumers through price increases, which is unlikely, the impact for the average Walmart shopper would be $12.49 a year (Table 6, page 8). We estimate that 28.1 percent of the impact of the price increase would be borne by shoppers with incomes below 200 percent FPL.

Finally, we should consider the impact of a mandated wage increase on the economic viability of big box retailers. Some analysts suggest that Walmart could not just raise wages, and prices, given that it operates in a competitive environment. However, a living wage policy would require all large retailers to operate under the same standards.

Jacobs, Graham-Squire, and Luce | APRIL 2011 7

Defending the Community:

$12.00 an hour minimum wage for large employers in Eureka:  707-442-7465