We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Some of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Warehouses, Workers & Wal-Mart

by Bob Maschi Thursday, Jul. 19, 2012 at 8:37 AM
bmaschi@yahoo.com

A group of workers for a warehouse that works exclusively for Wal-Mart invade the management offices with a list of demands that included crazy things like less dangerous conditions, hours that didn’t stretch from way before dark to way after dark, pay that met the legal definition of a wage and an end to global hunger (well, not really the last one—yet!).

Warehouses, Workers ...
nfi.jpg, image/jpeg, 640x480

Warehouses, Workers & Wal-Mart
Bob Maschi


I recently teamed up with Warehouse Workers United as they acted against one of the local warehouses. The place is called, NFI Crossdock and it exclusively serves that evil menace known as ‘Wal-Mart.’

Wal-Mart’s low prices come at a cost. The workers who are part of their supply chain, which includes numerous warehouses in southern California, are subject to insanely low wages, horrid working conditions and abuse. While these people are not directly employed by Wal-Mart, they are an important part of Wal-Mart’s corporate strategy to drive American wages down to third-world levels.

There were over 75 of us, a full third women, mostly warehouse workers with a few family members and other supporters. Many were more comfortable with Spanish than English and I only spotted one Starbucks-to-go, a real oddity for southern California. We all wore distinctive blue t-shirts marking us as supporters of Warehouse Workers United.

These people are the working poor. Many of them hope, someday, to be financially stable enough to live paycheck to paycheck. They have very little and were going to risk it all by marching into the Wal-Mart affiliated warehouse to demand better and safer working conditions and the pay they’d been promised —instead of the less-than-minimum wage they often received.

They were well aware of the potential consequences. They could be fired on the spot or forced out of their work in the near future for some silly, made-up reason like wearing a blue shirt or blinking at the sun. But what these workers lack in cash, they make up for in bravery. They are heroes and there was no doubt that as long as one of them went through with the plan, all of them would.

Waiting for the bus, they mingled in groups of 3 or 4, chatting away and laughing a lot. They laughed at their lot in life. They laughed at being nervous. They laughed because the rented bus had broken down (it would not go in reverse and so someone shouted, “Always forward!” in very good English I’ll add).

The back-up bus arrived (Get it? The ‘back-up’ bus?) and we piled in to join a short convoy over to the warehouse. There, we piled back out and began a march through the tar-skinned parking lot, past rows of Wal-Mart trucks, beyond a disinterested construction crew and right on by the puzzled face of a uniformed security guard—who was also, surely, getting paid less than what she deserved. Eventually we were walking four abreast down a corridor only wide enough for two. And given that warehouse workers are not usually small-framed, I’m betting that we bowed those cinder block walls out a little bit. We kept on marching right up into the administration section where a list of demands was read out. Loud.

The workers demanded crazy things like less dangerous conditions, hours that didn’t stretch from way before dark to way after dark, pay that met the legal definition of a wage and an end to global hunger (well, not really the last one—yet!). Then we shouted out some inspiring chants (what rhymes with ‘Wal-Mart ducks’?) before following our bread crumbs past the neat rows of shiny Wal-Mart trucks, past the relieved security guard, and past the newly arrived Sherriff whose only company was his little squad car, all the way back to the bus.

Since then, conditions at the warehouse have improved a little. There’s been a half-assed attempt to improve job safety, the workers are being treated with a little more respect and there’s been more care given to obeying the law. Did this all happen because the owners hadn’t been aware of the miserable conditions and were thankful that the matters were brought to their attention?

Hell no!

What the owners hadn’t been aware of was the fact that their workers were smart and had been organizing, that they had a lot of friends and that they had cojones down to their ankles (my Spanish is severely limited so I’m not sure what the female equivalent would be but consider it included!).


Bob Maschi is Secretary of Warehouse Workers Resource Center (WWRC). WWRC provides classes in ESL, Health & Safety and Wage & Hour Rights to warehouse workers in southern California. It also supplies emergency funds to workers who are retaliated against for their organizing efforts. WWRC (501c3 non-profit status pending) is in dire need of funds. Non-deductible donations can be made via Paypal through this website: http://www.centrobodeguero.org/


Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy