Wal-Mart has been hit with an unprecedented series of strikes and walk-outs in the past few months, the first major labor actions in the company’s history.
Labor journalist Josh Eidelson has the scoop on how a group of workers in the company’s Los Angeles warehouses will be hitting the picket lines on Thursday:
Thursday, Walmart warehouse workers are headed back to the picket line. At 8 AM Pacific, twenty-some workers in Mira Loma, California plan to launch a one-day walk-out which could spread to more workers, including retail employees in Walmart stores. Thursdaya��s strike will be the latest in an unprecedented wave of work stoppages throughout the retail gianta��s US supply chain. It follows strikes by seafood workers in June, by warehouse workers in September, and by 160 retail workers in 12 states last month. It comes a week before Black Friday, the post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza that workers have pledgeda��barring concessions from the companya��will bring their biggest disruptions yet.
a�?Hopefully it will make a dent in their productiona��a�? said Raymond Castillo, a�?and it gets their attention, that wea��re not playing around.a�? Castillo and other Mira Loma workers struck in September, and voted Sunday to do it again on Thursday. According to Castillo, workers started organizing because of unsafe and unsanitary conditions: crooked ramps caused serious injuries; workersa�� drinking water came from a hose. The organizing brought retaliation, which inspired a strike, which drew more punishment. a�?Since wea��ve all been retaliated against,a�? said Castillo, a�?it was a pretty easy decision for all of us to go back on strike.a�?
Recall that Wal-Mart’s operations in Los Angeles were the center of controversy earlier this year when they were caught hiring a public relations and lobbying firm that spied on organizing workers. That level of intimidation is likely part of the calculus that is bringing more and more Wal-Mart employees to take part in these labor actions.