Mar 10, 2014
Striking California Wal-Mart Workers Aim to Embarrass Company
Posted on Nov 6, 2013
After 50-odd years without coordinated strikes in U.S. Wal-Marts, the chain has seen a series of employee protests organized by the nonunion workers’ group OUR Wal-Mart. Wednesday the wave of demonstrations reached Southern California in a surprise strike riding on the coattails of a successful walk-off in Hialeah, Fla. According to the workers’ group, about 80 Florida employees managed to inspire the retail giant on Oct. 18 to give them full-time schedules when requested as well as 50 cent an hour raises and compensation for time spent protesting. With these huge gains set before them as an example, California Wal-Mart employees in Paramount are walking out Wednesday, while another protest has been scheduled for Thursday in downtown Los Angeles. Workers are not only expecting other employees to show up, but are also hoping customers join them to show their discontent at the poor service being provided due to many stores being understaffed.
The protests, according to Salon’s Josh Eidelson, are “the latest effort to squeeze the retail giant to address workers’ grievances over wages, scheduling, and alleged retaliation.”
Eidelson groups the Wal-Mart protests together with the fast food strikes that took place over the summer as “part of a wave of one-day, non-union ‘minority strikes’ which seek to embarrass corporations and engage co-workers and the public.” According to OUR Wal-Mart strategist Dan Schlademan, shame is exactly what workers are trying to stir in the second-largest corporation in the world. Schlademan points out that the bad publicity about how it treats workers is what “Wal-Mart hates” most of all. And ashamed it should be for regarding its workers as anything less than what they are: key components of the company’s success, but more important, human beings.
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi
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