The first-ever walkouts by warehouse workers and store employees are a game-changer
For the second time in five days – and also the second time in
Walmart’s five decades – workers at multiple U.S. Walmart stores are on
strike. This morning, workers walked off the job at stores in Dallas, Texas; Miami,
Florida; Seattle, Washington; Laurel, Maryland; and Northern, Central,
and Southern California. No end date has been announced; some plan to
remain on strike at least through tomorrow, when they’ll join other
Walmart workers for a demonstration outside the company’s annual
investor meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas. Today’s is the latest in a
wave of Walmart supply chain strikes without precedent in the United
States: From shrimp workers in Louisiana, to warehouse workers in
California and Illinois, to Walmart store employees in five states.
lot of associates, we have to use somewhat of a buddy system,” Dallas
worker Colby Harris said last night. “We loan each other money during
non-paycheck weeks just to make it through to the next week when we get
paid. Because we don’t have enough money after paying bills to even eat
lunch.” Harris, who’s now on strike, said that after three years at
Walmart, he makes $8.90 an hour in the produce department, and workers
at his store have faced “constant retaliation” for speaking up.
On Thursday, as first reported
at Salon, southern California Walmart store workers staged a day-long
walkout of their own. Organizers say over sixty workers from nine stores
signed in as on strike. About thirty of them were from the same store
in Pico Rivera, where strikers and supporters rallied with labor
leaders, clergy and politicians. “I’m still thrilled about what
happened,” said Harris, who flew in for last week’s walkout. “And it’s
given me a lot more energy and a lot more drive.” Other workers were
visiting from further away than Texas: When the striking workers
returned to work Friday morning, international Walmart workers marched
into their nine stores with them, carrying their own countries’ flags.
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