Target: Walmart CEO, Mike Duke
Goal: Allow Walmart employees to organize without fear of retaliation
On November 14, 2012, a former Walmart employee was handcuffed when he arrived at his old store to talk to workers about an upcoming “Black Friday” strike. Alex Rivera, who had been fired from that particular Walmart location, had gone to get a drink of water from a drinking fountain when a police officer grabbed his arm without warning, handcuffed him, and then led him into an office. The officer told Rivera that Walmart management had informed the police that Rivera previously signed a written trespassing warning against returning to the store. Rivera denied having signed such a warning. After the officer discovered that police had had no such warning on file for Rivera, the officer demanded that the manager who had mentioned the warning reproduce the file. The manager backtracked and the officer, realizing that no such file existed, released Rivera. The officer later said he would have never handcuffed Rivera had he known there was no precedent to do so.
This is just one example of the sort of tactics Walmart and its management use to discourage unionization and organization on the part of its workers. Rivera himself was fired after joining OUR Walmart, a nonunion group that organizes on behalf of Walmart workers. He noted in an interview with The Nation that his managers began monitoring him closely, increasing his workload, and preventing him from talking to other employees on break right before he was terminated. Walmart has also previously threatened legal action against activists who trespass on its property. Representatives from unions such as the United Food and Commercial Workers union and the group Jobs with Justice/American Rights at Work have received threats from Walmart lawyers for entering Walmart-owned parking lots, sidewalks, and stores.
The tactics Walmart uses to intimidate its workforce are despicable. As the largest retail store in the world, Walmart has no reason not to treat its workers with more respect. Ultimately, Walmart must stop discouraging its workforce from organizing. Tell Walmart that you support the right of its workers to organize.
Dear Mike Duke,
Walmart is the largest retailer in the world and has amassed enormous profits in its lifetime. And yet, despite the stability the company has in the retail market, your company continues to prevent its workforce from organizing and unionizing.
The tactics Walmart uses to discourage workers from organizing are unfair and disrespectful to your workforce. These tactics include legal threats to union representatives that come onto your property, forcing employees to watch anti-unionization propaganda while at work, and even firing workers who attempt to organize. Your workforce deserves better than this. This refusal to address the concerns of your employees shows an utter disregard for them as people with basic rights as workers.
Walmart must come to respect its employees and demonstrate this by allowing them to unionize and organize without fear of termination. As one of the most successful corporations in history, you have a duty to the well-being of your workers. History will remember you more fondly for it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: thepilot.com