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Striking Walmart workers hold signs saying
A big week for Walmart protests turned into an even bigger one Thursday when workers at Southern California Walmart stores walked out for a one-day strike. Josh Eidelson reports that:
Today’s strike is an outgrowth of a year of organizing by OUR Walmart, an organization of Walmart workers. OUR Walmart is backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, but hasn’t sought union recognition from Walmart; its members have campaigned for improvements in their local stores and converged at Walmart’s annual shareholder meeting. [...]

The strikers are taking a risk. With certain exceptions, courts have found that U.S. law prohibits disciplining non-union workers who go on strike in an effort to improve their working conditions. “The bottom line,” former NLRB Chair Wilma Liebman said yesterday, “is non-union people, as well as unionized people, have a right to concertedly walk off the job in protest.” Whether employers can legally permanently replace striking workers (effectively terminating them) depends on whether a strike is ruled to have been in protest of Unfair Labor Practices, and whether the workers offered to come back before the company had hired replacements. But Walmart strikers said yesterday that they expect the company will seek ways to punish them anyway. Already, photo department worker Victoria Martinez said yesterday, “Every time I go into work, I get panic attacks…I’m always wondering what are they going to try to do to me when I come in.”

Thursday's strike follows strikes at Walmart-contracted warehouses in California and Illinois, with a 600-person rally outside an Illinois warehouse leading to 17 arrests on Monday. Additionally, the company faces ongoing gender discrimination lawsuits.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 11:49 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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