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Walmart sign on store.
As many as 80 workers at one Miami-area Walmart walked off the job Friday, protesting cuts to their work schedules and the general environment of abuse:
“I decided a long time ago to do this, but we needed to come together as a group to make the decision,” said Bello. He described the strike as a response to “abuse and discrimination” by managers, as well as insufficient hours. “I have four years here,” he said, and “they’re give me 29 hours … as a human being, I want 40 hours.” Bello told Salon that workers met Thursday and decided to strike.
The walkout is the first since June; after a June action by some workers, Walmart engaged in a binge of retaliatory firings and other discipline. But OUR Walmart, the group involved in organizing previous strikes, says it didn't play a role in this one, though doubtless the earlier waves of one-day strikes helped inspire these workers. They certainly knew the importance of sticking together:
A representative from Walmart's human resources department came out of the store to try and have a dialogue with the protesters, but they did not come to an agreement. Human resources wanted to meet with each employee individually, but protesters said "all of us or none of us."
Walmart, predictably, insists that it offers full-time work, just like it insists that its average pay is higher than any outside analysis concludes. Fans of reality know that Walmart is a bad jobs machine that kills jobs in the communities it locates in and drags down wages throughout the retail sector.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 07:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I know I'm going to get flamed for this, but... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, koosah, FG, phylly3, minidriver, 1Nic Ven did we not expect this sort of BS?

    We all know the complicity of Wal-Mart in this. The don't give a rat's about their people.

    But the ACA set an arbitrary hour limit. Lawmakers had to know that businesses would do everything they can to work under the rules to maximize profits at the expense of their workers.

    IMO, this is one HUGE area that needs to be refined in the law so that workers don't get so willingly shafted by big business. Workers can strike and scream all they want, but you have to FORCE big businesses by LAW to do the right thing or this sort of pattern will repeat itself endlessly.

    Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

    by Love Me Slender on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 07:28:56 AM PDT

    •  Couple of things; no flames. (14+ / 0-)

      1. The Waltons have been underemploying their workers forever. It has nothing to do with ACA. It is SOP for them and always has been.

      2. There are large businesses like Starbucks and Costco who WANT their competitors to be forced to "pay their share." I saw the CEO of Starbucks on Charlie Rose a few years ago. He said that when other companies DON'T pay their workers a good wage with benefits, it is an unfair drain on companies like his that do. He and his workforce end up subsidizing the underemployed, uncovered workers of Walmart, Papa John's, etc. when they pay higher bills for healthcare, etc.  

      Metaphors be with you.

      by koosah on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 07:44:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fair enough...but keep in mind... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mikejay611, HeyMikey, koosah, 1Nic Ven

        ...that the employer mandate isn't even in effect until 2015 since the administration moved it back a year. They never should have left the loophole in the law.

        Wal-Mart aside, large employers in general sticking it their employees will have much to do with their ability to skirt the AC requirements. It is no coincidence that most of the jobs created out of the Great Recession are part-time jobs at the same time that the ACA was marching forward to enactment.

        Point is, now is not the time to defend that particular part of the law. Now is the time to close the loophole so they won't use it as an excuse.

        Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

        by Love Me Slender on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 07:47:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We're being divided & conquered. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite, phylly3, coigue

          Think about this mathematically.

          If this Walmart store needs, say, 4000 staff-hours a week to operate (I'm making that up), they can accomplish that with 100 workers at 40 hours each, or 160 workers at 25 hours each.

          So if they increase some of their current part-timers to full-time, they will reduce or eliminate the hours worked by other current part-timers.

          Ordinary people are being pitted against each other. Divide & conquer.

          The problem is not that Obamacare draws the line at 30 hours. The problem is that Obamacare draws a line. And the even deeper problem is that the austerity policies of the federal government result in mass unemployment and less-than-universal healthcare.

          Now I fully understand that Obamacare is a big advance over the status quo, and for that reason I support it. But as long as we accept that (a) our healthcare system is not universal, and (b) we will not provide full employment, we'll continue to have disputes like this.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 08:46:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Most of the stores are understaffed (7+ / 0-)

            due to demands from corporate.

            To use your illustration numbers, they may NEED 4,000 hours, but they're not supposed to let most employees go over 25-30 hours, BUT they're supposed to do it with only 100 employees.  The individual stores can't win - and their employees are in a perpetual state of being screwed five ways from Sunday.

            My job has me visiting stores to set up displays and the like. I fucking HATE going into WalMarts. They're filthy, the employees don't have enough time to do even half of their jobs but get chewed out if they don't do it all so they're perpetually in a bad mood (understandably!), and when I have to have a WM manager sign something I spend longer waiting for one/trying to find one than I do on the damn project - then MY boss gets peeved that I'm taking longer than the allotted time for my work.

            On the whole, I prefer not to be lectured on patriotism by those who keep offshore maildrops in order to avoid paying their taxes. - Molly Ivins

            by Lashe on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 11:32:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  koosah: not just SB / Costco, but all of US (6+ / 0-)

        as well.

        Wal-Mart has been a crappy organization to work for since at least '88, when it opened a "megastore" in Big Spring, boasting  of the 400 or so jobs it would provide. That store had one employee considered to be "full-time," i.e. paid for a 40-hour workweek. Scheduling for other employees (and in other stores, as witness my kid brother who worked for a different Wal-Mart in another similar-size town) aimed to keep people from being able to count on full or even half-days off, yet make sure nobody worked more than 37 hours in a week (part-time, in Texas).

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 09:18:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely. And Walmart isn't the only offender. (10+ / 0-)

          Countless large businesses have adopted this model since the late 1980s. Offer benefits like health insurance and 401k plans, but keep employees chronically underemployed to minimize the number who can access those benefits.

          These businesses have been doing it for decades and to NOW claim they "must" cut employee hours because of the ACA is beyond outrageous. They should be challenged on it whenever it happens and asked for data comparing their previous levels of full time vs part time hours per worker compared to current levels.

          Remember when the "Economic Downturn" happened? AKA the "Great Recession?" Many businesses used that as a convenient excuse to lower their labor expenditures through lay-offs and/or lower wages/wage stagnation. They took advantage of an external happenstance to take the blame for something they already wanted to do.

          The ACA is similarly taking the blame for genital wart corporations like Papa John's, Applebee's, and Walmart, that are conveniently using ACA as an excuse for what they already do.  

          Metaphors be with you.

          by koosah on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 09:45:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We just averted a grocery strike over this (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koosah, viral, 1Nic Ven

            According to a friend of mine whose daughter works at one of the affected stores, a group of grocery operators here in the Seattle area wanted to cut employees' hours down to a maximum of 29/week so they wouldn't have to pay for health insurance (among other demands). The employees, naturally enough, were miffed at this and had filed a 72-hour strike notice Friday evening.

            I got word tonight that the grocery operators had reached an agreement with the employees to settle the dispute and avert the strike. I can only take that to mean that the employers backed off of the part-timers-only proposal, although those of us on the outside haven't seen the proposed new contract yet. It's undoubtedly a good thing for the grocers they did, since a Seattle Times internet pollshowed that over 3/4 of those taking the poll would not cross a picket line to get their groceries.

            And how was this done?

            THROUGH A UNION.

            Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

            by Omir the Storyteller on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 08:19:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  But the genius of the ACA is if employees (4+ / 0-)

        only get 29 hours, they also get substantial subsidies from the government.  It helps break off health care from employment.
        Eventually the law of supply and demand will prevail.  Employers will realize they need to supply employees to meet the demands of customers and that will outweigh  the cost of providing health care.
        Wal-Mart is already forcing employees on Medicaid and food stamps because they pay so little.
        I don't shop at Wal-Mart.  I shop at Costco, which treats its employees humanely.

        Freedom of speech, in my view, does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government -- Bernie Sanders

        by OnePingOnly on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 07:59:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The reason you would get flamed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, Just Bob

      is because you haven't bothered to do the statistical research on the number of businesses dropping hours as a response to the ACA, and then making a post in which you seem to indict it for being responsible for hour dropping.

      This despite analysis to the contrary

      This despite that Walmart has done this over a long period predating the ACA and has been temp hiring as a way to offset costs since before 2012, as one Mother Jones investigation writes.

      So this isn't a flame. This is a correction to your errant accusations. Jesus Loves You. Keep pointing out others. You're most likely the problem.

      by DAISHI on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 11:30:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are fixated on Wal-Mart... (0+ / 1-)
        Recommended by:
        Hidden by:
        Outraged Mom

        You do realize that there are other employers....hundreds, in fact...that are openly blaming OCare for their chopped hours/payrolls, don't you?

        You aren't "correcting" anything. You are giving an opinion based on a POV that says defend OCare at all costs.

        Me? I deal in reality...and the reality is, this is an unpopular law (56% against) with more loopholes and exemptions built into it than we can count. It needs to be fixed or it will flounder.

        Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

        by Love Me Slender on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 05:17:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tricky, though, because it is an unpopular (0+ / 0-)

          law that does some good things, and, even more important, takes a stab, even if badly, at a problem that troubles many Americans.

          So -- you can hate the law while wishing that it did a better job because the problems to be addressed are so big and important.

          I continue to think that 2014 is a very important year for Democrats because it is the year most of the country gains a first-hand working knowledge of ACA.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 07:05:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes...I do not like the law... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...because we could have had single payer if the president had half the strength he does now back then.

            Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

            by Love Me Slender on Tue Oct 22, 2013 at 03:37:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Single payer fixation diverts from source of the (0+ / 0-)

              real problem.

              Not that single payer is a bad thing, but it's no panacea. American health care has serious problems.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Tue Oct 22, 2013 at 06:36:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  None of which has a thing to do with WalMart being (5+ / 0-)

          a shithole place to work for the past 30 years or more -- which is, in fact, the point of this diary.

          WalMart has been killing small towns for decades, killing small businesses for decades, underpaying and overworking employees unfortunate enough to have to work there or nowhere - for decades.

          Why are you fixated on the ACA? It has absolutely nothing to do with WalMart, except as a current poor excuse for doing what they have always done.

          •  Because instead of Medicare for all... (0+ / 0-)

            ...we got this POS that funnels billions into the pockets of insurance companies...hope that clarifies my position.

            Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

            by Love Me Slender on Tue Oct 22, 2013 at 03:38:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  HR abuse, outraged mom... (0+ / 0-)

          Shouldn't have to remind someone who has been here so long, but I will remind you nevertheless. We don't HR people we disagree with.

          Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

          by Love Me Slender on Tue Oct 22, 2013 at 03:36:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Needs Fixed? (0+ / 0-)

          I just listened to a seminar given by our National organization's lobbyist.  He pointed out that in the past almost every piece of major legislation passed by Congress has a "fix" which is applied after it has been in existence for 2-4 years.  Sadly, this one will never get its "fix", except as the Administration can administratively, until it is either killed or the Democrats take the House back.

          "The man who has his millions will want everything he can lay his hands on and then raise his voice against the poor devil who wants ten cents more a day" - S.Gompers

          by Copp on Tue Oct 22, 2013 at 07:12:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Just An Excuse... (0+ / 0-)

      Corporations like will use every excuse they can to screw their employees.  They've been forcing their workers onto public subsidies for decades, forcing taxpayers to subsidize their profits through food aid and Medicaid.  Using the ACA is just another dodge.

  •  Last week I attended a community function (12+ / 0-)

    that ended with a solicitation for donations to a grant foundation. The keynote speaker made a point of mentioning the generosity of gazillionaires like Bill Gates, the Koch Brothers, and the Waltons. According to this speaker, they make fortunes every year, but they are so generous to donate huge sums to charities.

    I sat quietly and seethed. People in my community wouldn't NEED the "charity" of these gazillionaires if they had good-paying jobs with appropriate pensions and single-payer healthcare. My tax dollars are SUBSIDIZING the Waltons' employees and enabling those pirates to shortchange their employees and accumulate their fortune at my expense. They get to turn around and CHOOSE where to "donate" that money and attach all sorts of strings to it. I get no say in any of that "generosity," even thought I SUBSIDIZED it.  


    Metaphors be with you.

    by koosah on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 07:36:01 AM PDT

    •  Indeed... (4+ / 0-)

      Wouldn't the working poor be better served if Obamacare and other policies FORCED businesses to serve those they say they care about?

      And better yet, wouldn't it be great if Democrats claiming to care about said working poor actually got out of bed with businesses and represented the interests of the people?

      I keep waiting..good thing I don't hold my breath.

      Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

      by Love Me Slender on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 07:41:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ...AND absolutely depends on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeeDee001, elginblt

    Government programs to subsidize its poverty level wages, and Walmart's profits.  All those social programs that the Republicans incessantly complain about are much more expensive than they need to be because Walmart gets away with paying crap.
    We MUST have a national dialog about requiring a living wage from vulture corporations such as Walmart.

  •  Part time jobs are a waste of time (5+ / 0-)

    When I was unemployed for 28 months between 2009 and 2011, I was offered a couple of part time gigs but neither one of them would have covered my most basic monthly expenses. One of them was in retail and in addition to having to sign an agreement to work 24 hours or fewer per week, the wanted me to sign an agreement to BE AVAILABLE FOR WORK DURING BUSINESS HOURS! In other words, I couldn't make a living there and I wouldn't have been able to take another part time job or even conveniently search for full time work. This wasn't Walmart but making that kind of demand is common in retail. Most employers view their employees as liabilities rather than assets these days and there is absolutely no line of abuse they will not cross to squeeze a few more pennies of profit out.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 06:58:16 PM PDT

  •  It starts with a few. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 07:07:36 PM PDT

  •  Glad to see the (6+ / 0-)

    pressure put on Wal-mart, but they are only the spear head of this kind of employment. Many, many corporate chains in America run their business just like Wal-mart and take no heat for it.

    For instance, my son works for a big name clothing chain. Part time. The store is HUGE and at the Mall of America. There are exactly 2 full time workers at that store. The rest are all part timers, which they hire constantly, a never ending pile of labor chum for them to chew through, and they never run out of applicants.

    My son is given a schedule every week, no hope of full time employment, but hours. He then has to save those hours for the company. But he must call in EVERY DAY he is scheduled to see if he is needed. They often say no.

    His store uses a computer to measure traffic and predict the need for sales help. If the computer says they don't need you, you're out the hours, even though you aren't told that till the day you're scheduled, sometimes an hour before.

    This makes it not only impossible to gain full time work---they'll cut you off in a nano second if you even approach the point where they might owe you benefits, it makes it impossible to take on another job, as they HOLD your time, without any guarantee you'll get the hours, but enough so to disable you to commit to someone else. It also makes it impossible to predict or count on what you'll make in any given week or month.

    This is a travesty that goes WAY BEYOND WAL-Mart. It is everywhere. Time was you could make a living in retail, not a great or rich one, but a good enough one. Those days are long over, and considering retail covers a huge amount of jobs available, this is just more very bad news in the land of the 1%.

    "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

    by StellaRay on Mon Oct 21, 2013 at 07:39:57 PM PDT

  •  It's As Bad As You Think It Is. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral, belinda ridgewood, elginblt

    I live 80 miles from Walmart's corporate H.Q.  in Bentonville, Ar. It is in the NW part of the state and includes 4 cities close together. Tyson Foods and J.B Hunt corporations are also there. It is the Republican bastion of this red state. My city was gerrymandered into their district in 2012.

    Every year they hold the biggest shindig you can imagine. A listers, top notch music artists and days of speechifying and frivolity at their shareholder's meeting. The Walton family has built a huge and impressive free art museum, family activity centers, nature centers  and has heavy involvement at U of A in Fayetteville. Meanwhile, my city of 85,000 has five WM supercenters in a 18 mile radius and a Sam's Club.  The other two national grocery stores in town have been turned into large convenience stores.

    Walmart is horrible to their employees, cutting hours, changing  shifts of long term employees at a days notice, eliminating the employee discount cards for new hires,  curtailing cashiers by openning more self checkout lines and filling many opennings through a temp company. I buy as little there as possible and would boycott it completely if not for budget reasons. If not for a bad economy and reprisals I wish that there would be a national walk-out day by hourly workers.

  •  Here is a strike I can get behind. (0+ / 0-)

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