February 7, 2013
Washington, DC- Today at noon, Walmart workers in Maryland and Texas citing Unfair Labor Practices (ULP)committed by Walmart, walked off the job in protest of the company’s attempts to silence workers who speak out for better jobs. The worker’s action come in response to reports of Walmart managers in Maryland and across the country telling Walmart workers that their actions taken last Black Friday were illegal, any future attempts to strike would be illegal and punishable, and for associating or even talking with Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) could lead to termination.
“What I know based on my conversations with other OUR Walmart leaders and other associates from Walmart Associates in Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, Maryland and other states last week Walmart managers started reading a memo to employees stating that their right to strike are illegal and if they did not stop taking action against the company they would be punished,” said Colby Harris, a Dallas, TX Walmart Associate, OUR Walmart leader and striker. “Not only are such statements to employees illegal but they are threatening and intimidating and no one should have to endure that. I along with other Walmart associates work hard to support our families and support our community, as a worker I should have the right to do my job free from intimidation and threats.”
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 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.
Last October, OUR Walmart leaders held the first-ever strikes against the mega-retailer. At that time, workers walked off their jobs in more than 12 cities and with the support of national and local leaders, held protests at more than 200 stores. Since then, workers have walked off the job in Richmond, CA and Dallas, TX, and support for OUR Walmart, the associate organization calling for Walmart to publically commit to address labor rights and standards, has continued to grow.
Striking warehouse workers, who move billions of dollars of merchandise for Walmart, joined the call to speak about the retaliation they have experienced for speaking out against unsafe working conditions, including extreme temperatures, broken and unsafe equipment and inadequate access to clean drinking water. The workers from the Inland Empire, outside of Los Angeles, held a 15-day strike that included a six-day, 50-mile pilgrimage for safe jobs last September.
Energy around the calls for Walmart to publicly commit to changing its treatment of workers and communities has been building. Last year, thousands of Walmart Associates and their supporters took unprecedented actions against Walmart in response to illegal actions the world’s largest private employer has been taking against its workers. We saw Walmart workers walk off the job from California to Maryland, in protest against the company’s attempts to silence workers who labor rights, and standards. And in the fall for the first time in the history of the company, we saw the first group of Walmart associates go on strike. As a result nearly 1,200 protests and actions took place at Walmart stores for its treatment of employees and the communities they occupy.
“The reason I decided to strike was because I cannot allow Walmart to mislead, threaten and intimidate myself or my fellow associates. We have rights and legal protection and if we don’t stand up to these misleading and downright untruths now, Walmart will continue its behavior and that is just unacceptable. We must hold Walmart accountable for their actions,” said Harris.
Following the protest at Walmart’s Laurel, MD store, Harris and other Walmart workers went to the National Labor Relations Board to file an official complaint against Walmart for their latest action to silence and intimidate workers.
OUR Walmart’s purpose is to help Walmart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Walmart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Walmart publicly commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. OUR Walmart has no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with it as the representative of Walmart employees.Read more »
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Walmart Strikers Prepare For Black Friday Protests Across Country
November 26, 2012
Our Walmart Greg Fletcher returns to Up with Chris Hayes
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Home for the Holidays? Not for Walmart Workers
November 20, 2012
Walmart Employees Plan Historic Strike
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Read more » Read more »
Updated on Huffington Post Tuesday October 16, 2012
Article from the Huffington Post, “Walmart launched a large-scale response this week to a series of unprecedented labor strikes, according to a confidential document obtained by The Huffington Post.
The seven-page internal memo, issued Oct. 8, is intended for salaried employees only, and contains instructions on how to respond to strikes by hourly workers that spread to 28 Walmart stores in 12 cities earlier this week. The strikes were the first by Walmart retail employees in the company’s 50-year history….” Click here to read the rest of the article.Read more » Read more »
On October 10th 2012, two hundred Associates descended on Walmart’s Home Office in Bentonville to protest Walmart’s attempts to silence Associates. In a historic move many of the Associates present had walked off the job the day before.Read more »
With Protests against America’s Largest Retailer Expanding Nationwide, Walmart Workers in at least Six Cities Walk Off Job
Walmart Faces First-Ever Strikes Over its Illegal Retaliation and Attempts to Silence Associates who are Speaking out for Better Jobs
WEDNESDAY: Striking Workers from Dallas, LA and Other Cities to Announce Further Calls for Change at Walmart from Corporate Headquarters
DALLAS –As community and elected leaders across the country call for changes at Walmart, workers from stores throughout the Dallas-area went on strike this morning in the first-ever Walmart Associate walk-out in Dallas protesting attempts to silence and retaliate against workers for speaking out for improvements on the job. Walmart workers from stores in Miami, the DC-area, Sacramento, Southern California and the Bay-area are also walking off the job. Along with community supporters, the striking Associates announced that they would be taking their calls for change to Walmart’s global corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, where Walmart is holding its annual financial analyst meeting. Last week, Associates in Los Angeles walked-off the job calling for an end to the retaliation.
On Wednesday, striking workers and community supporters will hold a teleconference call for media to announce further steps to call for change.
WHAT: Tele-conference with Striking Walmart Workers, Community Supporters to Announce New Calls for Change
WHEN: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 11:30 AM EST
WHO: Striking Walmart workers from Los Angeles and Dallas areas
Walmart Associates and Workers from Walmart-Controlled Warehouses
Sally Greenberg, National Consumers League
Terry O’Neill, President, National Organization of Women
Pastor Edwin Jones, Living Faith Baptist Church and International Ministries
DIAL IN:(888) 886-6603 Password: 20063#
“We cannot continue to allow Walmart’s attempts to silence and retaliate against workers continue,” said Stacey Cottongame, a striking worker from the Ennis, TX store. Stacey is one of thousands of members of OUR Walmart, the nationwide Associate organization calling for changes at the company. “Our jobs shouldn’t be on the line because we are speaking out for better jobs and a stronger community.”
Workers began walking off the job at 6:30 am this morning at the Ennis store and later joined Associates from the Lancaster store. Together, they met Associates at the Dallas store, who walked off the job and were joined by community supporters. The group protested outside the Dallas store with signs reading, “Stand Up, Live Better, Stop Retaliation” and “Stop Trying to Silence Us.”
Walmart workers and community leaders have been calling on Walmart and Chairman Rob Walton to address take home pay so low that Associates are forced to rely on public programs to support their families and understaffing that is keeping workers from receiving sufficient hours and is also hurting customer service. The company has not only refused to address these concerns that are affecting 1.4 million Associates across the country, it has attempted to silence those who speak out and has retaliated against workers for raising concerns that would to help the company, workers and the community.
The strike in Dallas comes days after Walmart Associates in Los Angeles held the first-ever strike against retaliation. Workers striking at Walmart controlled warehouses outside of Chicago just won an end to illegal retaliation following a 21-day strike during which clergy and community supporters were arrested by riot police during the peaceful protest. Warehouse workers in Southern California were on a 15-day strike that included a six-day, 50-mile pilgrimage for safe jobs. In advance of Walmart’s annual financial analyst meeting on October 10, OUR Walmart members shared concerns about the scheduling and staffing problems to a room full of financial analysts.
As front line Walmart workers are facing these hardships, the company is raking in almost $16 billion a year in profits, executives made more than $10 million each in compensation last year. Meanwhile, the Walton Family – heirs to the Walmart fortune – are the richest family in the country with more wealth than the bottom 42% of American families combined.
Energy around the calls for Walmart to change its treatment of workers and communities has been building. In just one year, OUR Walmart, the unique workers’ organization founded by Walmart Associates, has grown from a group of 100 Walmart workers to an army of thousands of Associates in hundreds of stores across 43 states. Together, OUR Walmart members have been leading the way in calling for an end to double standards that are hurting workers, communities and our economy.
The alleged Mexican bribery scandal, uncovered by the New York Times, has shined a light on the failure of internal controls within Walmart that extend to significant breaches of compliance in stores and along the company’s supply chain. The company is facing yet another gender discrimination lawsuit on behalf of 100,000 women in California and in Tennessee. In the company’s warehousing system, in which Walmart has continually denied responsibility for the working conditions for tens of thousands of people who work for warehouses where they move billions of dollars of goods, workers are facing rampant wage theft and health and safety violations so extreme that they have led to an unprecedented $600,000 in fines. The Department of Labor fined a Walmart seafood supplier for wage and hour violations, and Human Rights Watch has spoken out about the failures of controls in regulating suppliers overseas, including a seafood supplier in Thailand where trafficking and debt bondage were cited.
Financial analysts are also joining the call for Walmart to create better checks and balances, transparency and accountability that will protect workers and communities and strengthen the company. At the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Bentonville, OUR Walmart member Jackie Goebel brought a stadium full of shareholders to their feet applauding her call for an end to the short staffing that’s hurting workers and customer service. A resolution proposed by Associate-shareholders to rein in executive pay received unprecedented support, and major pension funds that voted their shares against Walmart CEO and members of the board this June amounting to a ten-fold increase, and overall 1 in 3 shares not held by the Walton family against the company’s leadership.
These widespread problems have also thwarted Walmart’s plans for growth, particularly in urban markets. Calling the company a “bad actor,” New York City mayoral candidates have all been outspoken in their opposition to Walmart entering the city without addressing labor and community relations’ problems. This month, the city’s largest developer announced an agreement with a union-grocery store at a site that Walmart had hoped would be its first location in New York. In Los Angeles, mayoral candidates are refusing to accept campaign donations from the deep pockets of Walmart, and in Boston, Walmart was forced to suspend its expansion into the city after facing significant community opposition.
Making Change at Walmart is a campaign challenging Walmart to help rebuild our economy and strengthen working families. Anchored by UFCW, we are a coalition of Walmart associates, union members, small business owners, religious leaders, women advocacy groups, multi-ethnic coalitions, elected officials, and ordinary citizens who believe that changing Walmart is vital for the future of our country. The UFCW and OUR Walmart have provided technical assistance to the four shareholder sponsors of Proposal #6, and we continue to support their efforts to campaign on its behalf.Read more »
Yesterday, Walmart workers in Pico Rivera, CA and the surrounding area courageously held a strike in protest of Walmart’s illegal retaliation against workers who spoke out for change at the company. Today, Walmart workers from around the globe showed their support for this action by walking the striking workers back to work.
UNI Global, an important international union, is holding a conference in Los Angeles to discuss the challenges that Walmart presents for workers around the globe. Workers took time out of their busy planning and presentation schedule to show their solidarity for their American colleagues. The workers were allowed to return without incident, demonstrating that through collective action workers can stand up to Walmart and make change in their stores. You can read on UNI Global Union’s site.Read more »
Follow the action and view photos from the October 4th strike in Los Angeles on our Facebook page.
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Today, my coworkers at Walmart and I are taking a historic step. We’re going on strike against Walmart! Will you stand with us?
For over a year, Walmart retail workers have been coming together to call for change at Walmart. Through our worker-led Organization United for Respect at Walmart, workers like myself have been calling on the company to address issues with scheduling, benefits, wages and above all, respect in the workplace.
But instead of being responsive, Walmart has lashed out at us for speaking up. The company is trying to silence and intimidate us through unfair disciplinary actions, cut backs in hours and even firings. We’re on strike to protest these illegal attempts to silence us.
Even though I’m working hard to juggle my job, a tight budget and caring for my sick father, I know that I have to do something to stop Walmart from bullying us when we practice our freedom of speech. We all know how Walmart has dealt with these issues in the past.
Many of us are taking a huge risk by going on strike. That’s why we need your support. Sign a letter of solidarity to striking Walmart workers to show the company that you’re standing with us.
I’ll present your message to my coworkers, pinpointed on a map to show all the support we have around the country! Together, we can stand up to Walmart.
Walmart Worker/ OUR Walmart Member
Follow the action and view photos from the October 4th strike in Los Angeles on our Facebook page.
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