Walmart workers staged their historic strike on Black Friday. Management tried to downplay it, and given how massive Walmart is, the relative strength of the strike was small in real terms compared to the company’s 1.4 million workers. But it would be silly to just leave it at that without the context of the company witnessing no labor strikes in its 50-year history. The strikes were an expression of human dignity from a segment of their labor force that feels discriminated, retaliated, unappreciated and downtrodden.
|By: David Dayen Monday November 26, 2012 6:53 am|
|By: David Dayen Sunday November 18, 2012 4:00 pm|
Walmart, trying to change the subject in advance of protests and strikes at the outset of the holiday shopping season, has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the United Food and Commercial Workers union, arguing that UFCW is illegally attempting to disrupt its business.
|By: David Dayen Thursday November 15, 2012 2:10 pm|
The historic Walmart worker strikes over the past couple months built energy toward an even bigger culmination. Walmart workers, protesting low wages, erratic hours, lack of health benefits, and most importantly disrespect in the workplace, decided to speak their grievances in a series of worker-led actions. Walmart responded with retaliation, including firings, reductions of hours, and intimidation in the workplace. One organizer and former worker was handcuffed in front of his colleagues when he returned to talk to them about upcoming actions.
As a result, the non-union coalition OUR Walmart protested with temporary strikes at 28 stores in 12 states. They inspired supply chain walkouts and strikes at warehouses, to protest similar grievances and retaliation. And this all leads to a major action at Walmart stores on Black Friday, typically the biggest retail sales day of the year. This will includes strikes, in-store actions, potential flash mobs, and solidarity demonstrations from sympathetic allies. Organizers have billed it as the largest one-day action against Walmart in history, much larger than the October strikes.
There’s only one thing: Black Friday is happening on Black Thursday night this year.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday November 14, 2012 3:25 pm|
After consolidating the financial sector rather than seeing it broken up over the last few years, Wall Street actually faces competition, in the form of big box retailers.
It shows you just how much trust banks have lost when people would rather do financial lending business with Home Depot or Sam’s Club.
|By: David Dayen Thursday October 11, 2012 4:32 pm|
Low-wage retail jobs have been the source of the labor “recovery,” such as it is. And our system gives so much leverage to giant corporations like Walmart that it becomes very difficult for workers to collectively use their power for better pay and working conditions. There’s no question that a better labor market would help their cause markedly, giving them the flexibility to quit jobs offering low pay with the knowledge that a better one lurks just up the street.
But Walmart employs 1% of the total US workforce (that’s not a typo). This massive size enables them to set a wage, hour, benefit and working condition standard in a way that no other employer can. Furthermore, as stories about a “new normal” for unemployment continue to pop up, as theories about structural unemployment predominate, the idea that we will see a labor market favorable to workers in the near future is remote. This is the world these workers live in right now. And they need to use all their tools to force a better situation for themselves.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday October 10, 2012 1:35 pm|
The wildcat strikes by non-union Walmart associates are approaching a critical mass. The first-ever strikes have now spread to 12 cities across the country – including Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Orlando, Seattle, and various locations in California – with workers joined by labor and community activists. Protests have been held in front of 200 Walmart stores in the US. Another 100 workers traveled to corporate HQ in Bentonville, Arkansas, to protest the retaliatory measures taken against workers who advocate for higher pay and better working conditions.
Now, OUR Walmart, the organization putting together the strikes and protests, have put out a threat for planned actions around the most important retail day of the year, Black Friday.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday October 9, 2012 3:00 pm|
For the second time in a week, workers at Walmart stores, this time in five states, have walked out on the job. While Walmart does not allow unions and the strikes are relatively time-limited, this surge of worker activism at the nation’s largest employer is one of the biggest stories in US labor relations.
|By: David Dayen Wednesday June 8, 2011 11:34 am|
We have all kinds of problems (unemployment, foreclosure, not to mention two wars) that we seem unable to do anything about. What we can do in the United States Congress is engage in a months-long lobby bonanza between the largest retailers in the country and the largest banks in the country over how they will split up the fee for when you purchase products via debit card. And finally, that battle over swipe fees gets a vote today.