Walmart workers Go On Strike
For fifty years Walmart has been fighting a war against workers, driving down wages and crushing attempts to organize around the world. But just this week, an incredible new chapter opened in the fight against Walmart’s race-to-the-bottom economics – workers in Walmart’s California warehouses have gone on strike.
Workers are sick of working in 100+-degree heat without access to clean water, they’re sick of poverty wages, and most of all, they’re sick of being ignored by management. So this week, dozens of workers have walked off the job, and they’re marching 50 miles to Walmart’s HQ in downtown Los Angeles to confront some of Walmart top executives. By the time they arrive, we want the workers (and the bosses) to know that thousands of people around the world are standing with them.
Every year, Walmart ships hundreds of millions of tons of goods from Asia, through warehouses in the southern California desert, and then on to local stores. And conditions in those warehouses are scandalous. UCLA’s Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program has found that 63 percent of workers have been hurt on the job. Investigations by California state regulators have led to numerous citations and fines for breaking labor laws for the companies that manage the warehouses.
As long as Walmart can escape responsibility for its suppliers’ behavior, there will be no systematic changes at the warehouses.
Walmart may not hire the warehouse workers directly, but it built the warehouses and hired subcontractors to manage them. And since 90% of goods moving through these warehouses are destined for Walmart, the world’s largest corporation clearly has the power to raise standards throughout the industry.
Workers have tried to meet with Walmart executives before, but they’ve been ignored. Now they’re doing something that can’t be ignored. They don’t have an officially recognized union, so they’re taking on a substantial risk by going out on strike. But the workers understand that by taking a stand, they’re challenging a business model that has made life worse for millions of workers around the globe.
As a community, we’ve challenged Walmart before. Thousands of us shared an infographic about Walmart’s devastating impact on the global economy, and tens of thousands of us spoke up against abusive conditions in Walmart’s Thai suppliers. Let’s let Walmart know that every time workers fight back against its destructive business model, we’ll be standing with the workers.
Rob, Kaytee, Paul, and the team at SumOfUs.org