Thursday, October 18, 2012

Walmart workers issue Black Friday ultimatum

Josh Eidelson, Labor Journalist / Contributing Writer-Salon & Neal Asbury, Truth for America join Thom Hartmann. In recent weeks we've seen unprecedented labor strikes against the world's largest private retailer - Walmart. It started with a walkout among Walmart supply chain workers - and turned into a strike by Walmart's retail workers in a dozen cities across the nation last week. Workers threatened to hold actions on Black Friday at the end of November if Walmart doesn't agree to stop retaliating against employees who speak out abour poor working conditions. And now we know that this strike has the attention of Walmart executives. According to a leaked corporate memo obtained by the Huffington Post that was sent around to Walmart's salaried employees only - managers are instructed to act with caution when confronting striking workers. For fifty years - Walmart has stifled any sort of union activity - but this latest memo is unusually cautious - telling managers not to violate their workers' right to organize - and not to discipline employees who engage in walk-outs are sit-ins. The memo also cautions managers from threatening, intimidating, or spying on workers who are trying to organize. It does however instruct managers to give workers facts, opinions, and personal experiences with labor organizaing in an effort to discourage union activity. So given the strikes in the recent week - and now this leaked corporate memo - who has the upper-hand in the fledgling labor dispute with Black Friday looming at the end of next month?

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