Thursday, February 7, 2013

More Wal-Mart strikes in Md., Texas after company retaliates

Striking Wal-Mart workers in Laurel, Md., just now. 
(UPDATES with final graf to explain how Wal-Mart intimidated workers.)

Wal-Mart workers walked off the job today in Maryland and Texas to protest illegal retaliation by management, we're learning from Twitter and Facebook

In Texas, Wal-Mart associate Colby Harris went on strike today in Dallas because the company tried to silence him. This is what he posted on the Walmart-Lancaster N-Interstate 35 E Facebook page:
I want a voice at work. My name is Colby Harris and I will not be reporting to work tomorrow. I am going on strike to protest Walmart's attempt to silence Associates who speak out for respect and decent incomes for our hard work. Walmart's threats and retaliation are a direct violation of my rights under the National Labor Relations Act. I believe in a better Walmart and that silencing Associates who want to make Walmart better is immoral and illegal.
Colby Harris, compliments
Working Class Heroes FB page.
Messages of support are being posted on the store's Facebook page here: More than 100 people already posted comments, including one from a Teamster brother:
Stephan Cleveland Teamsters 1224 Airline Pilot with you.
The store itself posted a comment:
Walmart Lancaster - N Interstate 35 E
Hi Colby - We are sorry to hear about your experience at work. At Walmart, we believe in an open communication with all associates. If you have an issue at work, please follow the Open Door process in your facility and speak with your immediate supervisor or the next appropriate level of supervision. You can learn more about our Open Door Policy at

In Maryland, striking workers are leafletting a store in Laurel, though community allies were kicked off the property.

@MHourback tweeted:
In Laurel MD to support courageous #Walmartstrikers Darlene, Barbara and Cindy - striking against illegal threats by $WMT
From @Tiffany, we learn Walmart strikers are on their way to the NLRB office in Washington DC to file Unfair Labor Practice charges.

The Maryland strikers are picketing in defiance of a settlement with the NLRB.  The Associated Press reported on Jan. 31:
Labor groups say they will end their picketing at Wal-Mart stores for at least 60 days as part of a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board. But they vowed they will continue to press the world’s largest retailer to better overall working conditions, including wages. 
The agreement, announced by the labor board Thursday, comes after the discounter filed a complaint on Nov. 20 with the board against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. It said that demonstrations at the stores organized by union-backed OUR Walmart that culminated on the day after Thanksgiving threatened to disrupt its business and intimidate customers and other store workers.
Josh Eidelson at The Nation spoke to Colby Harris, who explained how Wal-Mart provoked the workers:
Workers allege that Walmart exploited that agreement to unleash a new round of intimidation against workers. They say that Walmart managers held mandatory meetings in which managers read from a memo telling workers that the strikes had been illegal, and that OUR Walmart was being dissolved. “They said that anybody who associates themselves with OUR Walmart, and the leaders, and the organization as a whole, could face disciplinary actions,” said Harris. He said he had not been pulled into such a meeting, but had heard about them from co-workers in states including Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, and Maryland.