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Martin Murray

Wal-Mart Warehouse Workers Strike

By October 2, 2012

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Wal-Mart Warehouse workers at Wal-Mart are in the news again, this time at a key distribution center at Elwood, Illinois. Back on September 13th, workers for Wal-Mart's warehouse contractor, Roadlink Workforce Solutions, filed a lawsuit for non-payment for all hours worked, paying less than the minimum wage and non-payment of overtime worked. Workers allege that after the suit was filed, the company started a program of intimidation and retaliations against workers. Since September 15th, the workers at the Elwood warehouse have been on strike.

Over the last few years six lawsuits have been filed against Wal-Mart contractors for paying less than the minimum wage and overtime payments. Earlier this month thirty workers at another Wal-Mart subcontractor, NFI, in Mira Loma, California went on strike over what they described as unsafe working conditions at the warehouse. This was the first time the workers have ever walked off the job and completed a six-day, 50-mile march, which they called a "pilgrimage," to draw attention to the poor working conditions in the warehouse.

Last year, the California State Labor Department found wage and hour violations at the Mira Loma warehouse and fined one of the subcontractors, Impact Logistics, $499,000. Another staffing company, Premiere Warehousing Ventures, was fined over $600,000 for similar violations in the same warehouse.

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October 4, 2012 at 8:03 pm
(1) Dave Dunn says:

Wal-Mart is not a great company to work for IMO. It avoids giving enough hours for healthcare, its uses subcontractors where possible, and never seems to bother if those subs have a good record or not. Its all about getting it done the cheapest way possible.

October 5, 2012 at 5:19 am
(2) Pat Sepp says:

The strikes at these two warehouses should stir some of the retail staff to take action. Wal-Mart has done nothing but kill off union requests and made life hell for some employees. These striking subcontractor employees are at the bottom and should not be treated in this manner.

October 5, 2012 at 7:42 am
(3) Tia Lopez says:

The strikes will probably not change anything, but it gets the media involved and to say to Wal-Mart that their employees aren’t going to be pushed around anymore. Wal-mart has competition and it is not the company it used to be. It has cut corners, pushed out expensive benefits, and made it a place of last resort for people to work at. I applaud the communities that say that they don’t want a Wal-mart in their neighborhood. It’s a blight on the landscape and until they take their responsibilities seriously, I would not set foot in their stores.

October 6, 2012 at 2:33 am
(4) Billie Bamgboshe says:

My friend worked at Wal-Mart for a month, he didn’t have a visa or a green card, no nothing and they still hired him. Makes me mad, but what can you do. Wal-Mart is the lowest of the low, probably lower than McDonald’s now, and that’s pretty low.

October 6, 2012 at 3:04 am
(5) FH Chukwumereije says:

I would love to see a nationwide Wal-Mart strike. I know it may never happen, but wouldn’t it be great. Those poor people who have no choice but to work for this company, I feel that they deserve more, but how will they get it without action.

October 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm
(6) Jon Dewsbury says:

Wal-Mart is becoming the shop of the poor and underprivileged. So many communities are trying to ban them its only the poor neighboorhoods that want this type of retailer. Yes, they offer the unemployed jobs, but what type of jobs – minimum wage, no benefits and no prospects. Wow, thanks Wal-Mart.

October 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm
(7) Rase Kumar says:

Wal-Mart doesn’t come across as a good company to work for. I am sure that the shareholders and executives would disagree. It appears that they do these deals with the shadiest subcontractors and wonder why it all blows up in their face.

October 7, 2012 at 7:48 am
(8) Freddie Abaynesh says:

WalMart makes a lot of money for their shareholders. They do that by hiring the cheapest contractors for everything that they can do without employees. The retail employees that they have are poorly paid and poorly treated, lack of career progression and lack of benefits. They are denied basic employee rights, such as joining a union, and the company wonders why they have such a negative image. Good luck to the communities that invite this company in, well done to those why do everything in their power to keep them out.

October 7, 2012 at 9:57 am
(9) Samuel Berihun says:

Why can’t Wal-Mart get it and pay their employees a far wage with some benefits. They would get more employee satisfaction and less turnover.

October 7, 2012 at 11:32 am
(10) Paula Ellis says:

America’s retail union, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), stands in strong solidarity with Walmart workers in Southern California who have gone on strike. Thousands of Walmart associates across the country have joined together in OUR Walmart, a worker-led organization that stands up to make change in their company. For more than a year now, associates have been working together for a company that pays a living wage, provides affordable health care, is a contributing member of communities and treats their associates with respect. Instead of listening and working with OUR Walmart members, Walmart has retaliated against workers and tried to silence them.

October 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm
(11) Callie Wallace says:

For the first time in Walmart’s 50-year history, workers at multiple stores have gone on strike, even though their jobs are not protected by a labor union. good for them, Walmart needs to have some one stand up against their bully tactics.

October 8, 2012 at 1:43 am
(12) George Papadopoulos says:

Is it fair that the retail workers walk out on strike when the issue is with subcontractors who are running the warehouses? It seems as though there are two (or three) issues going on here.

October 15, 2012 at 6:05 am
(13) Lucas F. Donat says:

I see the strike moved to many stores in many states, I think the Wal-Mart management will be very worried by these developments.

October 19, 2012 at 5:09 am
(14) Hilda Mielke says:

What happened to this strike, it was all over the media and now big nothing. What’s going on?

October 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm
(15) Eva Lords says:

I read today that more workers will be walking off the job and perhaps a mass walkout for black friday. Although when I hear mass walkout, it will be a few hundred or may be a thousand.

October 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm
(16) Sylvia Faubert says:

Will there be a national Walmart strike? No. The company is very strict with its employees and if it really came down to it they would probably fire the strikers and hire temps. But you will never hear about it in the media.

October 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm
(17) Ricki Salazar says:

I like that you keep highlighting the Walmart issue, everyone seems to be afraid of Walmart, but they still have to play by the same rules as everyone else. It is important for workers and unions to keep jabbing away at Walmart to get them to take notice and improve their treatment of their employees; and that means salaries and benefits. Unlawful treatment, such as threats, refusal of lunchbreaks, poor working conditions, and suchlike should always be reported and then, and only then, can the force of the law bare down on Walmart and make changes for them employees, and the employees of the contractors they use.

October 26, 2012 at 7:43 pm
(18) Union Member - Washington State says:

I am a union member and I am surprised how little the union leaders are doing for these Walmart workers. I know it is hard to get a union recognized in retail, but they seem to be very hands-off when I thought that the Union would be all over this. I am very surprised by the lack of action.

October 26, 2012 at 8:57 pm
(19) Austin Washington says:

This is what I saw when I was looking at reports of the workers who were employed at the warehouse used by Wal-Mart, but not owned by Wal-Mart.
“Workers face inadequate access to clean water, work under scorching heat that reaches well over 100 degrees, and have little access to basic healthcare, regular breaks, and properly functioning equipment. Their wages are low –$8 per hour and $250 a week, or $12,000 per year. Workplace injury is common.”
Can you imagine that $12k a year? I bet they hire and fire all the time.

October 27, 2012 at 8:43 am
(20) Robert K. Villanueva says:

It won’t be the Walmart workers or the contractors who bring Walmart down with their little strikes, it will be the power of the major unions and the threat of refusing to touch or move Walmart goods. The ports can refuse to unload containers, the drivers can refuse to move goods, and the warehouse workers can refuse to load items. It has to be a combined effort. The shame of it is that I don’t see the Unions doing anything much…..its a real shame.

October 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm
(21) Pamela de los Santos says:

I read that Walmart uses so many subcontractors that they can dictate price, conditions and anything. This means the contracting firms are desparate to get the lowest salaries and some use foreign H-2B workers or illegals. Its robbing American workers of jobs. But what does the government do. NOTHING. They are so scared of the mighty Walmart. I would never shop in their stores until they pay better wages and have better conditions for their employees.

October 28, 2012 at 2:39 am
(22) Hebert Grandville says:

The strikes at walmart are very small but if they are larger, which could happen, many think that their fragile supply chain could be very stretched, if not broken. This is especially true if dock workers at the ports, like Los Angeles decide to stop handling Walmart goods. It can all come to a halt very quickly,

October 28, 2012 at 9:28 am
(23) Faustin Gourdin says:

I found this quote about a striking wal-mart worker.
“Yolanda Dickerson, who had worked in a warehouse for two years, says she “was sexually harassed on a regular basis,” recounting an incident of being locked in a trailer by male co-workers. After Dickerson reported the incident, she says management did nothing. WWJ [Warehouse Workers for Justice] says such reports are common.”
Wal-mart may “be the store of the poor” but it’s costing people a lot of their dignity.

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