WAL-MART WAREHOUSE distribution workers in southern California and Illinois are on strike, demanding the respect they deserve from the corporate giant.
The walkout by roughly 30 employees in Elwood, Ill., about an hour’s drive southwest of Chicago, came just days after a similar-sized group struck in Mira Loma, Calif.
… The Elwood workers say the recent strike by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and its example of labor and community solidarity inspired them to take on Wal-Mart. On the day they walked out, the Elwood workers announced their strike at a mass rally in Chicago in support of the teachers, receiving an enthusiastic welcome from the crowd.
On September 18, members of the CTU, WWJ, Making Change at Wal-Mart, Stand Up Chicago, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881, OUR Wal-Mart, Chicago Jobs With Justice, the Service Employees International Union, Action Now, UE and others teamed up to support the striking warehouse workers and send a message to Wal-Mart to keep its hands off our schools.
The Walton Family Foundation—a project of Wal-Mart’s billionaire owners—has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to corporate “education reform” initiatives, including groups like the pro-privatization Alliance for School Choice.
In a statement, the CTU declared that it “stands in solidarity with striking warehouse workers in Illinois and California who are fighting for their right to safe working conditions. As educators, we also protest the role of the Walton Family Fund in financing efforts to privatize public education and increase the number of charter schools.”
… Though small in numbers, these workers are taking an important stand in beating back the drive to the bottom. In the coming days and weeks, solidarity from other unions and the public will be key to winning fair wages and working conditions—and sending a message to Wal-Mart that its workers deserve better.
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