International Walmart protests today

Walmart heir Robson Walton, whose net worth is $26bn, took in more than $420m in dividends last year, while the average employee makes $8.81 an hour or $15,500 a year [photo AFP]

By Josh Eidelson in the USA:

Walmart Workers Will Rally in Ten Countries Tomorrow

December 13, 2012 – 9:45 AM ET

The labor campaign confronting Walmart in the United States is planning an international escalation for tomorrow. In partnership with the global union federation UNI, the union-affiliated group Making Change at Walmart is supporting a “Global Day of Action,” with participation expected from Walmart workers in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, India, Nicaragua, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Zambia. The day’s main US protest will be a Miami demonstration featuring a street theater performance in the tradition of the United Farm Workers’ teatro campesino.

“When other countries and other states come together and help Miami, it’s louder,” said Hileah, Florida, Walmart worker Marie-Ann Roberty, a member of the union-backed group OUR Walmart. While “in the beginning, Walmart thought it was not a threat…,” said Roberty. “Now that it’s growing, and people are coming together, Walmart has to listen, Walmart has to come and sit with us as a group and say, …What do you need us to do?”

Friday’s planned actions make good on a promise made two months ago. As I reported for Salon, as Southern California workers launched the first-ever coordinated US Walmart retail strikes on October 4, UNI staff and Walmart workers from abroad were in town to kick off a new Walmart Global Union Alliance. Workers from the UNI delegation rallied with strikers and escorted them back into work after the strike, carrying their countries’ flags into Walmart stores. They also pledged coordinated global actions in the months ahead.

Interviewed in Spanish during that visit, Argentinean union delegate Marta Miranda said, “It was an incredible experience, and a learning experience.” Miranda, who worked as a Walmart greeter for three years, said the visiting Walmart workers “shared stories” with their US counterparts. “We agree that it’s important for workers to have the basic right to stand up and speak out for themselves,” she added. “Everyone should have that. If they’re upset about their conditions, they should be able to voice that.”

Tomorrow’s global protests will call for an end to alleged retaliation against US Walmart worker activists. They will also include a moment of silence for the 112 workers who died in a November 24 fire at a factory that produced Walmart apparel in Bangladesh.

The website of the Corporate Action Network, a group that helped coordinate Black Friday protests in support of striking Walmart workers, also offers instructions from Making Change at Walmart for hosting actions on Friday at US stores. It suggests tactics including leaflets, delegations to management, flash mobs and prayer vigils.

Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment this morning. In statements to The Nation, the company has dismissed recent strikes and protests as publicity stunts, denied retaliating against activists, and said that it promotes fire safety in Bangladesh.

While entirely union-free in North America, Walmart has acceded to union recognition in several countries. One of the most dramatic struggles took place in the United Kingdom in 2006; as historian Nelson Lichtenstein recounts in his book The Retail Revolution: How Walmart Made a Brave New World of Business, the union representing warehouse workers at the Walmart subsidiary ASDA won expanded rights to organize retail store workers by threatening a work stoppage that would have kept beer from reaching the homes of fans in time for the World Cup. Lichtenstein notes that some Walmart unions were inherited by Walmart when it bought existing retail chains, and that some are largely controlled by political parties and don’t challenge management authority in the workplace.

In general, Lichtenstein told The Nation last week, “the lesson” from abroad “is that you need to bring the state in.” While Walmart has resisted unionization wherever possible, he said, the retail giant has been “willing to abide by the laws of a country if the laws are there and they’re going to be enforced.” According to Lichtenstein, US labor laws have done little to restrain Walmart from union-busting.

Interviewed during the October UNI delegation, Head of UNI Commerce Alke Boessinger said that while the countries with unionized Walmarts generally have more pro-union legal systems than the United States, “that doesn’t mean that it’s actually easy for them to get organized at Walmart.” In Argentina, for example, said Boessinger, “they still had to go through years of struggle and fighting with the company to make sure that they comply with the local law.” “Walmart,” she said, “will always only do the minimum, according to what they absolutely have to and are forced to do.”

For more on Walmart’s role in the fire that killed 112 Bangladeshi workers, check out Josh Eidelson’s coverage here.

Over 100 protestors in over a dozen US cities were arrested Thursday as they participated in walkouts against Walmart: here.

A special investigative report performed by the Tampa Bay Times and published in their Sunday newspaper this week provides details on the extent to which police departments in the Tampa, Florida area have become an effective private security force for retail giant Walmart: here.

46 thoughts on “International Walmart protests today



    360l Washington Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21227
    Sat. January 19, 2013
    12 Noon to 1 P.M.

    OUR Walmart workers

    Video of OUR Walmart workers at the Nat’l Peoples Power Assembly on Dec. 15, 2012

    Demand justice for low wage workers from Walmart to McDonalds.
    Stand for workers rights from Michigan to Maryland!
    Say NO to so-called “right to work” laws and YES to raising the minimum wage!
    No to inadequate health care and lack of right’s on the job!

    One out of every four persons in Baltimore City is reportedly living in poverty. Many of those who live in poverty actually work, but at jobs that pay next to nothing. In many cases these same workers are employed by multi-billion dollar, greedy corporations like Wal-Mart and McDonalds.

    Let’s stand together! If Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today he would be walking the picket line.

    HEAR: Representatives of the OUR Walmart campaign; low wage workers fighting to raise the minimum wage; and many others. Let’s let Walmart know that those in the community support the Walmart workers; that “an injury to one is an injury to all”.
    OUR Walmart workers

    Initiated by:

    Baltimore Southern Christian Leadership Conference
    and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly

    For more info: call 410-500-2168 or 410-218-4835

    Join the Maryland Justice for Low Wage Workers!


    a focus group of the Peoples Power Assembly

    Dear Super Walmart Manager,

    We the undersigned, community, civil rights, student, and religious leaders, have picked this special weekend, the weekend commemorating Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, to call on you to provide justice for your workers.

    Dr. King Jr. marched for justice for all! He called for an end to poverty, and poverty wages. He spoke out for worker’s rights on and off the job. He was jailed for fighting against discrimination.

    Low wages, inadequate health care coverage, lack of right’s on the job including retaliation for speaking out, among many other things, are problems for all of us.

    Surely, the multi-billion dollar Walmart corporation can do better!

    We ask you to seriously take up the demands of OUR Walmart, your very own workers, and hear their voices.

    “An injury to one, is an injury to all.”

    Signed,(This is a partial list of signers)

    Rev. Cortly CD Witherspoon, President Baltimore Southern Christian Leadership Conference and representative Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly
    Sharon Black, Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly
    Fred Mason, President, Maryland and D.C. AFL-CIO
    Attorney Curtis Cooper, National Lawyers Guild, Maryland Chapter
    Richie Armstrong, Community Churches United
    Elizabeth Alex, Baltimore lead organizer, CASA de Maryland
    Tom Dodge, Save Our Post Office
    Council person, Mary Pat Clarke, District 14
    Rev. Heber Brown, Pastor Pleasant Hope Baptist Church
    Nakia Washington, Coppin State University student activist
    Bishop Barry Chapman
    Rita Collins, President Northwestern High School Alumni Association
    Cory McCray, Co-founder BEST Democratic Club
    Roxi Herbekian, President UNITE-HERE Local 7
    Arnold Jolivet, Maryland Minority Contract Association
    Council person, Bill Henry, District 4
    Leon Purnell, Board member SCLC and Eastside community activist
    Attorney J. Wyndal Gordon, Warrior Lawyer
    Andre Powell, AFSCME Delegate, Baltimore Metropolitan Labor Council
    Kate Planco Waybright, Int. Executive Director, Progressive Maryland
    Kaye Adler, Black Red American Indian Voices
    Donna Simone Plamondon, Occupy Baltimore
    Max Obuszewski, Pledge of Resistance, Anti-war activist
    Eartha Harris, Millions More Movement
    Bonnie Lane, Word on the Street, Homeless activist
    Barbara Larcom, CASA/LIMAY
    Frank M. Conaway Sr., Circuit Court Clerk, Baltimore City
    Renee Washington, AFSCME Local 97


  2. Pingback: United States voting rights in trouble | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: United States fast food workers fight for their rights | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: United States veterans’ economic and physical hardship | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: G4S, Serco fraud on housing refugees | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Still no justice for Bangladesh factory collapse survivors | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: North Carolina government attacks free speech | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: Bahrain dictatorship illegally imprisons workers | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Pingback: United States music video about minimum wage | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  10. The Walton family is the richest family in America with nearly $150 billion in wealth – but most Walmart workers make less than $25,000 a year.

    Let’s support Walmart workers in nearly 800 stores who want Walmart to increase wages to $15 an hour with full-time hours.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik


    Workers’ Voice

    Dear Activist,

    We take our name – Workers’ Voice – pretty seriously.

    That’s why we need your support to stand up for Walmart workers. The Waltons are the billionaires (with a b) who own Walmart, and they are the richest family in America.

    But most of their employees, the Walmart workers who keep their store running and do the actual work to make those profits for them, make less than $25,000 a year. Walmart workers in more than 2,000 stores have joined calls for Walmart to publicly commit to increasing workers’ wages to $15 an hour and giving them access to full-time hours.

    Join them here and tell the Waltons that if they don’t respond, you’ll be in the streets protesting on behalf of workers on Black Friday!

    Many Walmart workers who helped to build the Waltons’ fortune are struggling just to get by. Workers at Walmart are looking for a fair shot, but the silver-spooned Walton family is robbing them of a decent living.

    We’re calling on the Walton family to stop being so greedy and start treating their workers right. The inspiring grassroots movement of Walmart workers has made it clear they won’t rest until they can actually live better, just like Walmart promises its customers.

    It’s not too much to ask. It’s just enough to get by. And that’s why we need your help. Getting Walmart to publicly commit to paying $15 an hour is just a start, and it would help more than Walmart workers. As the biggest private employer in the country, a win for Walmart workers is a win for all workers.

    Put your workers’ voice in chorus with Walmart workers. Sign the petition.

    Mike Podhorzer
    Workers’ Voice

    Paid for by Workers’ Voice,
    Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee


  11. Pingback: Bhopal pesticide disaster, thirty years on | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  12. Pingback: Ferguson, USA solidarity in Britain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  13. Pingback: Stopping deforestation in Brazil | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  14. Pingback: G4S mercenaries make English hospital filthy | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  15. Pingback: Homophobic Irish bakery convicted | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  16. Pingback: boss makes $7 billion in 45 minutes | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  17. Pingback: Puerto Rican interviewed on privatisation and protests | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  18. Pingback: Food waste and Walmart in Britain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  19. Pingback: PJ Harvey’s new album, review | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  20. Pingback: United States elections, plutocracy or democracy? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  21. Pingback: British 1% and 99%, more inequality than ever | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  22. Pingback: Saudi, Qatari governments fund ISIS, Clinton admitted secretly | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  23. Pingback: Donald Trump elected and after | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  24. Pingback: Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Secretary of anti-education | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  25. Pingback: Donald Trump’s anti-human rights nightmare update | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  26. Pingback:’s limited concession on poverty wages | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  27. Pingback: California wildfires, over 1,000 dead? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  28. Pingback: Trump supports racist Republican in Mississipi election | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  29. Pingback: United States federal workers victims of government shutdown | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  30. Pingback: Trump’s tax cuts helping the rich | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  31. Pingback: Los Angeles, USA teachers’ strike, 10 January | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  32. Pingback: Mexican worker’s solidarity with United States car workers | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  33. Pingback: Matamoros, Mexico workers’ strikes expanding | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  34. Pingback: Injured Delta Airlines flight attendants treated badly | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  35. Pingback: Facebook treats its censorship workers like shit | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  36. Pingback: United States billionaires attack Bernie Sanders | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  37. In a couple weeks, I will attend Walmart’s annual shareholder meeting in Arkansas.

    At this meeting, I will directly address the Walton family — the richest family in America — and other Walmart shareholders about their wealth, their greed, their mistreatment of workers, and their exploitation of American taxpayers.

    The Walton family, which owns Walmart, is worth more than $170 billion. Yet many Walmart workers are making wages so low that many of them are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing to survive — paid for by U.S. taxpayers. That should not be happening at a company owned by the wealthiest family in America.

    Walmart workers are sick and tired of this. So a group of them invited me to speak on their behalf at the Walmart shareholders meeting, where I will present the workers’ common-sense proposal to give hourly employees of Walmart a seat on the company’s board of directors. The people who make the company successful deserve to have a seat at the table.

    I am honored to be asked to speak for these workers. But this a moment that is about much more than Bernie Sanders.

    When I tell the richest family in America about a solution to their endless greed, I want to have as many supporters as possible giving their voice in solidarity with Walmart workers. That is why I am asking you today:

    Add your name if you agree: the Walton family and Walmart need to give Walmart workers a living wage of at least $15 an hour and include hourly employees on the company’s board of directors. It is important that I have your support before I travel to Arkansas. Will you add your name?


    These workers are not asking for much. All they want is a living wage so that they can pay the bills, put food on the table, send their kids to college and save for retirement. They want a union. They want to have a seat on corporate boards. And they want to end corporate greed that is destroying the social fabric of America.

    If hourly workers at Walmart were well represented on its board, I doubt you would see the CEO of Walmart making over a thousand times more than the average worker. I also doubt you would see Walmart spending $20 billion on stock buybacks when it could be using that money to pay its workers a middle class wage with good benefits.

    Walmart is not a poor company. It is not going broke. Last year, it made nearly $10 billion in profits.

    Rob Walton, the eldest son of Walmart’s founder, spent an estimated $226 million on an antique car collection that includes 12 Ferraris, six Porsches, two Maseratis, and a 1963 Corvette Grand Sport Roadster.

    His sister Alice, another heir to the Walmart fortune, had no problem amassing a private art collection worth an estimated $500 million, buying a $44 million painting, purchasing a $25 million two-floor condo on New York’s Park Avenue with 52 windows overlooking Central Park, or acquiring a $22 million 4,400-acre ranch in Texas.

    When I am in Arkansas speaking on behalf of Walmart workers, I will be in the room, speaking directly to Waltons like Rob and Alice and the rest of the richest family in America.

    And I will be telling them: Get off of corporate welfare, pay your workers a living wage of at least $15 an hour and include hourly employees on Walmart’s board of directors.

    I don’t want the Waltons to just think they’re hearing from Bernie Sanders. When I speak to the Waltons, I want them to hear the voices of Walmart workers — and I want them to hear from thousands of people like you who agree that it is time to end the reckless greed of their family, their corporation, and that of other greedy corporations in the country.

    So please, Linda.

    If you agree with me that Walmart needs to respect its workers, it’s important that you add your name before I go to Arkansas and deliver my message to the Waltons. Please add your name here.

    It’s not a radical idea to say that if you’re a profitable corporation like Walmart, you must pay all of your workers a living wage with good benefits before you go out and reward wealthy executives.

    The fight of these Walmart employees is the fight of all of us. Thank you for standing with us.

    In solidarity,

    Bernie Sanders


  38. Pingback: ‘Billionaires should not exist’, Bernie Sanders says | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  39. Pingback: Oil plutocracy or democracy in Wisconsin, USA? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  40. Pingback: Amazon, Walmart billionaires finance anti-women politicians | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  41. Pingback: United States bosses endanger workers’ coronavirus safety | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  42. Pingback: Wearing anti-coronavirus masks, criminal in Illinois, USA? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.