Inspired by their co-workers’ bravery last week, and by a desire to unite for change, today workers walked off the job at Walmart stores in Dallas, Texas; Miami, Florida; Seattle, Washington; Laurel, Maryland; and Northern, Central, and Southern California. Read about their incredible story here.
This is a useful column on the issues at stake.
You can send the workers your support in seconds here.
Over a hundred Walmart workers in California walked off the job today as a visible, collective act in support of their right to organize. Read more about their courageous decision to unite and speak out in this Salon/Alternet story.
It has been a busy time for retail workers and their allies around the world. California warehouse workers wrapped up their two week, 50 mile pilgrimage for safe work, having built mass support for their cause. In Illinois, workers at a Walmart supplier warehouse are on strike for better working conditions, and 17 supporters were arrested during a large day of action. In the US, France, and around the world, workers in Apple stores are campaigning for change. Vous pouvez lire cet article sur les problèmes et efforts en France. In India, a national strike was held against proposed changes to the retail sector, which saw shopkeepers, workers, and unionists uniting.
In assessing this growing retail activism, the diversity of participants is noteworthy. So too is the fact that a wide range of strategies are being used, and that the efforts are both about resisting poor conditions, and proactively proposing new ways to view retail work and workers.
Warehouse workers in California – who do not currently have a recognized union but who are joining together through Warehouse Workers United – walked off the job this week and began a six day march to protest unsafe working conditions and call for change. You can read more about their brave struggle here, and follow their journey here.
Retail workers, their family members, friends, neighbours, and allies in the labour movement held a colourful rally at the Target Canada headquarters. A diversity of workers’ organizations attended in solidarity including UFCW Canada, the Ontario Federation of Labour, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the United Steelworkers, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, and the Workers’ Action Centre. This support is another promising sign of the growing retail workers’ movement in Canada. See stories in the Huffington Post, Toronto Star, and on Mississauga.com.
Despite the fact that HBC sent a letter to Zellers workers asking them not to speak to the media, some workers are exercising their right to freedom of speech and sharing their personal experiences of the Target takeover and Zellers closures. See this story in the Toronto Star. It notes that Walmart acted differently when it took over Woolco stores in 1994. There are likely a number of reasons for the difference in corporate behaviour, including a perception that the Canadian government and people will tolerate such behaviour and the great number of resulting job losses now, but wouldn’t in the mid-1990s. The current Canadian government is clearly comfortable with Zellers’/HBC’s and Target’s decisions, but I believe the Canadian people still think we deserve better.
Retail associates are joining with their co-workers in food production, processing, and warehousing, and together seeking improvements across Walmart workplaces. Many voices and workplaces, but a united call for change. The workers have submitted a formal ethics complaint, and you can read more about their efforts here.