Friday, November 30, 2012

Resistance to the War on Workers spreading everywhere

Homeless McDonald's workers speak out.

Today warehouse workers asked a court to include Wal-Mart as a defendant in a class-action suit for wage theft. It was the latest act of worker resistance against poverty wages, exploitation and ill treatment.

Tomorrow, union and community members will take the next act of defiance against plutocrats who are crushing working families. Throughout the country, rallies, news conferences and 30-hour watches will be held to oppose Wall Street's latest attempt to plunder the retirement and health benefits earned by American workers.

Last year, huge labor protests engulfed the capital of Wisconsin. Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa then said Gov. Scott Walker's brazen attacks on government employees awakened all American workers.
Scott Walker gave a wake-up call to Wisconsin’s working families, and they gave it right back.
Teamsters supporting striking fast-food
workers in Brooklyn yesterday.
Hoffa called it. Activism has spread from unionized government workers to low-paid non-union employees such as Wal-Mart associates, fast-food workers and misclassified warehouse workers along the supply chain. It's spreading to a broad spectrum of Americans fighting against proposed cuts to programs and benefits for working people.

Teamsters are standing in solidarity with all working families fighting for a better life. And they're standing with us.

Yesterday, dozens of workers at McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's walked off the job in New York City yesterday to protest their poverty wages and ill treatment. Teamsters joined them. (Watch a video of yesterday's fast-food strike here.)

On Black Friday, Wal-Mart workers and supporters took more than 1,000 actions in 46 states. Teamsters stood by them, too.

Josh Eidelson at The Nation tells us what's next for the Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart:
During the holiday shopping season, OUR Walmart plans to communicate with Walmart customers about the company’s conditions. That includes internet outreach and face-to-face conversations with people entering and leaving stores. OUR Walmart so far has stopped short of calling on customers to boycott the company. 
At the same time, OUR Walmart has pledged to defend workers it says have been punished for their activism. Along with discussing the allegations with customers, OUR Walmart plans to file a battery of new National Labor Relations Board charges against the company, and to form new rapid-response committees prepared to support workers facing future retaliation. 
Local 707 Teamsters supporting striking Wal-Mart workers
in Kingston, N.Y. 
Both the customer engagement and the anti-retaliation strategy are designed to be ongoing programs that won’t center on a single day like Black Friday. But striker Colby Harris said there’s also a major action planned for an unspecified date next month. He said to also expect “possibly more strikes, more walkouts, maybe some sit-ins, some picketing possibly. Just what we’ve always done, just at a higher volume, more frequent.”
The Los Angeles Times reported today on the lawsuit by the warehouse workers, which is supported by the Change to Win federation to which the Teamsters belong.
The suit accuses Wal-Mart, Schneider Logistics Inc., which operates a Wal-Mart warehouse, and a pair of temporary employment agencies of forcing approximately 1,800 employees "to work long hours, under oppressive workplace conditions, for legally inadequate pay."

The facilities in Mira Loma, near Ontario, receive containers from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and reship them to Wal-Mart distribution centers and stores around the country.

"It has become increasingly clear that the ultimate liability for workplace violations rests squarely on the shoulders of Wal-Mart, and not just on the contractors and subcontractors that act as a buffer...," said an attorney for the warehouse workers, Michael Rubin.
We will keep bringing you dispatches from the battlefield.