OK

This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.

ATTENTION: READ THE RULES.

  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

For weeks, protests and brief strikes by Walmart workers across the country yielded dismissive statements from Walmart about how small the number of protesters and strikers was in the context of the company's 1.4 million U.S. workers. But Friday, a week before a planned wave of Black Friday protests, it became clear that this isn't something Walmart is dismissing. The company filed an unfair labor practice charge against the United Food and Commercial Workers, the union that supports non-union Walmart worker groups are affiliated with.* That's not a tactic Walmart would bother with if it was confident it could crush these workers' spirits as it's accustomed to doing.
Activities over the past year or longer "have caused disruptions to Walmart's business, resulted in misinformation being shared publicly about our company, and created an uncomfortable environment and undue stress on Walmart's customers, including families with children," Walmart outside counsel Steven Wheeless said in a letter sent on Friday to Deborah Gaydos, assistant general counsel of the UFCW.
You know what creates an uncomfortable environment and undue stress on people, including families with children? Walmart's ridiculously low pay scale and scanty opportunities for advancement, such that, according to internal company documents:
Low-level workers typically start near minimum wage, and have the potential to earn raises of 20 to 40 cents an hour through incremental promotions. Flawless performance merits a 60 cent raise per year under the policy, regardless of how much time an employee has worked for the company. As a result, a "solid performer" who starts at Walmart as a cart pusher making $8 an hour and receives one promotion, about the average rate, can expect to make $10.60 after working at the company for 6 years.
That, combined with policies intentionally keeping workers at part-time hours so they don't qualify for benefits, is why so many Walmart employees are forced to rely on food stamps and other public assistance to make ends meet. Being kept poor is the sort of thing that causes families with children just a little more distress than being exposed to workers picketing outside of stores.

Walmart's dismissive statements about the small percentage of workers taking part in the protests are accurate in a literal sense, but the decision to try to use the law to shut the protests down reveals that something bigger than the percentages is going on: this is the first time Walmart has faced such sustained, defiant activism against its abuses of workers. Usually when workers have tried to fight the conditions they face, retaliation and intimidation from managers have been enough to shut it down. That's not working this time, and as the protests spread and draw public notice, it seems that executives are nervous enough to go beyond their usual tactics. And when they're nervous, it's time to double down.

* Edited to clarify that OUR Walmart is not a formal affiliate of, but is supported by, the UFCW.

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 11:25 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.