Home > Uncategorized > US Walmart Workers Strike Against Bullying Bosses

US Walmart Workers Strike Against Bullying Bosses

This was originally written for an upcoming issue of the Activist. However as a further strike involving Walmart store workers in five states, as well as others in the supply chain, has taken place we will be looking towards publishing a further updated article in the future. We publish it now as we think this will be of large interest to many USDAW members and supporters of the Activist. Activist editors

On Thursday 4th October, US retail workers made history when they went on strike in several Walmart stores in Florida. Around 60 morning-shift workers picketed the Pico Rivera store, whilst other workers from later shifts and 9 other stores in the Los Angeles area joined them later.

The strike was organised by Organisation United for Respect  at OUR Walmart (OUR Walmart), which is backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and follows a several thousand strong march in Los Angeles a few months earlier and a fifteen day strike by Walmart warehouse workers in Florida, which included a six-day march to draw attention to their working conditions (which include working in 120 degree farenheit temperatures).

The strike was organised around a series of clear demands put forward by UFCW’s Making Change at Walmart (which includes OUR Walmart). These include a minimum pay for Walmart employees of $25,000 a year (around £15,500 a year), compared to the $15,500 the average fulltime worker gets currently. It also includes demands around quality, affordable health care and Walmart’s signature on a global union agreement to recognize workers’ right to organise amongst others. OUR Walmart has also raised the demand that full time jobs are made available to all that want them to current the trend towards cutting workers hours that many UK retail workers will unfortunately be familiar with.

These events show that there should be no no-go industries for the trade union movement, industrial action can be organised in even the most bitter anti-union employers with the most downtrodden employees. OUR Walmart adopted a strategy of mobilising its members into active campaigning through a variety of campaign strategies from petitioning to protests, building towards industrial action. This also, makes a mockery of the ideas of some that retail workers will not take industrial action.

This brings home all the points that the Activist has raised in opposition to the ‘partnership’ approach of the USDAW leadership around John Hannett. Bold action to defend USDAW member’s interests can bring un-organised workers into our union.

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