Target: OUR Wal-Mart
Goal: Support Striking Wal-Mart Employees across the US
Wal-Mart employees have gone on strike for the first time in the company’s 50-year history. On October 4, 2012, employees at several California stores staged a walkout. Meanwhile, workers in Texas, Washington, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Florida, Kentucky, and Minnesota have gone on strike. As of October 10, OUR Wal-Mart, the organization that helped organize the strikes, has issued an ultimatum to the retail giant: Recognize workers’ right to organize immediately or face a planned Black Friday demonstration.
Wal-Mart is infamous for its refusal to allow workers to unionize, for its low wages, and for gender-discriminatory pay for its workers. Since the strikes and walkouts began, Wal-Mart managers have been reported to be forcing employees to attend on-the-clock meetings where the employees are discouraged from joining in the disruptive activities. Despite this, as well as the threat of being fired or facing retaliation from management, workers continue to join those engaged in strikes. Though OUR Wal-Mart is a nonunion group, it has close ties with organized labor, including the United Food and Commercial Workers union that has challenged Wal-Mart on several occasions.
The fact that these strikes and walkouts have occurred without union representation and organization is remarkable. Although the workers striking thus far represent a small fraction (about one in 10,000) of the 1.4 million employed by the world’s largest retailer, their action in the face of possible employer retaliation is brave and deserves mass support.
Given the size and influence of Wal-Mart, the striking employees need all the attention and support they can get. Wal-Mart is already well known for the way it treats its workers but many people are probably unaware of this historic strike. Don’t let this story go unheard. Support the striking Wal-Mart employees in their struggle for workers’ rights.
Dear OUR Wal-Mart,
I am writing to express my support for your actions in helping organize Wal-Mart employees across the US to walk out and strike. This event has been a long time coming for a 50-year old company engaged in the kind of discriminatory, anti-labor behavior that Wal-Mart routinely engages in.
Wal-Mart’s reaction to worker demands for higher wages, equal pay, and safe working conditions has been atrocious and unacceptable. The organization of un-unionized Wal-Mart workers is remarkable. Also, the willingness of employees to strike and take part in walk-outs is truly inspiring given the vulnerability of Wal-Mart employees and the likelihood of retaliation from management.
As the strikes spread and as action continues, I support the striking Wal-Mart employees as well as OUR Wal-Mart’s vision and demands to Wal-Mart executive management. I also support your plans for a Black Friday demonstration, if the aforementioned demands are not met. Thank you for your work in the ongoing struggle against corporate abuse.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Democracy Now!