Tuesday, November 20, 2012

exploitation blues

Walmart has always been able to crush workers' attempts to organize, so as to be able to bargain collectively for better wages and hours. But this neo-feudal family empire appears to have finally generated enough outrage to provoke a national labor action, and this coming Friday will suffer the consequences of many years of worker exploitation.

This coming Friday, of course, is so-called "black Friday," the store's busiest day of the year, and if the nation-wide strike Walmart workers have called for is even partly successful, they will hit the giant retailer at its most vulnerable point -- right in the wallet.

The store is filing an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, but has no legitimate grounds for doing so and will not get the injunction they seek. It's the only card they have left to play, however, since worker indignation has now swamped their ability to run their old technique of intimidating employees one at a time, one store at a time.

The giant retailer is mailing out quarterly dividend checks a few weeks early, to avoid the higher taxes that will result from expiration of the Bush tax cuts at year's end. Half the company's shares are owned by Walton family members, who will realize extra millions from the move, even as their employees go to the wall attempting to secure a few more cents per hour, and enough hours a week to support their families and get off food stamps.

There's more at Dailykos, plus a link encouraging all of us to support Walmart workers in their attempt to bring the low-price, low-wage employee gulag into compliance with fundamental human decency.

You can support Walmart workers this Friday by showing up and cheering on the picketers with hot food and coffee, or simply by not darkening the door of the big, evil box, which has destroyed hundreds of small-town main streets in the past couple of decades in addition to treating their work force like beasts of burden.

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