Saturday, May 25, 2013

Wal-Mart resistance to escalate next week

Planned bus routes to Bentonville next week.
Next week Wal-Mart workers will turn up the volume a notch in their campaign to be treated decently by the retail giant. Echoing the freedom riders of the Civil Rights movement, they will ride in caravans of buses to the company's June 7 annual meeting in Bentonville, Ark.

The buses will be leaving from all over the U.S., including Southern California, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. They'll pick up Wal-Mart associates along the way. They're hoping for support from union members and other allies at their stops.

Josh Eidelson at The Nation reported earlier this month:
Several days before the shareholder gathering, caravans will leave from several cities around the country, stopping along the way to pick up workers and supporters, and to meet with community activists. OUR Walmart’s plans for the next month also include confrontations between Walmart employees and members of the company’s board of directors.
They decided on the Ride for Respect during a five-day planning session at the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Ala.

Los Angeles Wal-Mart worker Tsehai Almaz told The Nation that she and her colleagues feel they're facing many of the same issues as the 1961 freedom riders:
I feel like we’re facing many of the same issues, even though it’s not necessarily about race—this time it’s about respect. And being able to feed our families, and having good working conditions...

It’s time for this generation basically to accept the baton and continue the movement. Because it didn’t end in the ’60’s. That just started the movement—it’s continuing with how Walmart is treating its associates.
The workers want full-time jobs, living wages, affordable health care and better working conditions. Wal-Mart pays its workers an average of $8.81 an hour, forcing many of them onto food stamps and Medicaid.

Preparations for the Ride for Respect can be found on OUR Walmart's Facebook page.
Across the country we're getting ready for the Ride for Respect! We'll be talking to Associates across the country and bringing our message of change to Bentonville for the Annual Meeting. Thanks to OUR Walmart So Cal for sharing this image. Like if you support and go to this link to sign up!
OUR Walmart is asking workers to sign the Bentonville Strike Pledge here. It says, in part,
I WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED by Walmart’s threats and retaliation against Associates who speak out for better pay, more hours and respect at work. I’m ready to put an end to Walmart’s unfair labor practices.
The Teamsters are supporting OUR Walmart through the Change to Win federation. Teamsters are encouraged to show support for the Ride for Respect.