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Tue Jan 1, 2013, 09:16 AM

The Walmart Revolt: The New Year promises new strategies for old labor

from In These Times:

The Walmart Revolt
The New Year promises new strategies for old labor.

BY David Moberg

On Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, bargain hunters trying to enter 1,000 Walmart stores around the country had to maneuver through rallies and picket lines. Tens of thousands of protesters turned out at the urging of a year-old worker association, Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), to support roughly 500 workers who walked off their jobs that day, fed up with what they saw as Walmart’s inadequate pay, disrespectful working conditions and illegal punishment of workers who speak out. “I’m pumped up,” said Tyrone Parker, a night-shift stocker, as 250 protesters marched around a Walmart store in Chicago’s South Side. “Somewhere, somehow, down the line, it’s going to make a big difference.”

The nationwide action was one step in what promises to be a long march toward securing a voice for workers at the vehemently anti-union Walmart. But at a time of growing unrest among low-paid workers, the Walmart campaign could help the labor movement take a giant leap forward.

Walmart, the world’s largest private employer, heavily influences standards for vast swaths of the American economy, from retail to logistics to manufacturing. Over the past few decades, Walmart’s competitive power—a combination of size, technology and cut-throat personnel policies—has played a role in dramatically reducing American retail workers’ average income and unionization level (from 8.6 percent in 1983 to 4.9 percent in 2011). Left Business Observer economist Doug Henwood calculates that real wages for retail workers—who make up 10 percent of the workforce—have fallen nearly 30 percent since their 1973 peak, three times the drop of all hourly wages. Reversing that wage trend will be essential to revive the economy and reduce soaring inequality.

In taking on the retail behemoth, OUR Walmart—supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and its labor-community alliance, Making Change at Walmart—is testing unconventional strategies. The organization is looking backward for inspiration, to neglected union strategies of the 1930s and socially disruptive actions of the civil rights movement, and forward, to the possibilities opened by the Internet and social media. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/14297/the_walmart_revolt

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Reply The Walmart Revolt: The New Year promises new strategies for old labor (Original post)
marmar Jan 2013 OP
ROBROX Jan 2013 #1
Michigan-Arizona Jan 2013 #2
jtuck004 Jan 2013 #3
Omaha Steve Jan 2013 #4

Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:44 PM



Their are insurance benefits, but wages continue to be LOW. My son manages the automotive section, but he is looking for a better paying job. He can not provide pay raises for his workers since the machine suppresses wages. Even the managing staffs wages are suppresses. My son has to live at my property since his wages would not allow him enough money to live by himself and he has to commute 30 miles to work.

The new world is ugly because there are to many selfish people who are GREEDY. If this world was better we would be sharing and everyone would have a GOOD LIFE.

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Response to ROBROX (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:57 PM

2. Isn't it just the truck driver's of Walmart that are union?

I'm not aware of any of the store's being union. If I'm not mistaken Walmart closed store's in Canada when they unionized.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Sat Jan 5, 2013, 06:05 PM

3. I think a good protest would be to get life size cardboard prints of the women

that died in the factory fire making Walmart clothes, or some hungry folks here who don't have jobs because theirs were shipped overseas, and have activists toss these flat pictures on the road for shoppers to drive over as they go in.

We are doing it anyway whether we shop there or pay taxes to give them corporate subsidies and tax breaks. Might as well bring it home a little, while they organize in the stores, get people to see what that big box, all the big boxes, represent.

It would be a hell of a conversation starter with some handouts and stuff, and I think the most it would get one is a littering charge if they really pushed it, so a great return on investment for protest, it would seem.

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