The most clear-cut victories along the Walmart supply chain—though small in absolute terms—have been in warehouses, which is not surprising, because warehouses are a chokepoint in Walmart’s sophisticated logistics operations.
The $2.2 trillion in goods that enters the U.S. from abroad each year must pass quickly through the hands of logistics workers—dockworkers, port truckers, railroad workers, truck drivers, and warehouse workers—before ending up in stores. A work stoppage at any point blocks the flow of not just iPhones and pajamas but also profits.
As the U.S. becomes more of a goods-mover than a goods-maker, the logistics chain becomes to the far-sighted organizers of today what big factories were to the CIO in the 1930s.
In Elwood, Illinois, a support rally for 38 striking warehouse workers drew 600 supporters fand 17 civil disobedience arrests, including clergy. Managers were frightened into closing operations for a day, costing Walmart $10 million. Photo: People's World.
In giant complexes of warehouses in Southern California, Illinois, and New Jersey, workers’ organizations aided by unions are talking about strategy.