Posts Tagged ‘Wal-Mart’
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Tags: budget, cartoon, deficit, politics, Twinkies, United States, Wal-Mart, workers
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Groups such as OUR Walmart and Making Change are planning to support walkouts of Wal-Mart workers across the nation on Black Friday.
Tags: protest, strikes, Wal-Mart, workers
In recent weeks, a wave of small walkouts have hit Wal-Mart stores in at least 28 locations in 12 different states in a campaign to demand improved wages, more flexible hours and an end to what workers say are punishments–such as reduced shifts–handed out to workers seeking to organise themselves.
Those same workers are making plans to disrupt Wal-Mart’s operations on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States.
Colby Harris, a full-time Walmart worker in Dallas, said that the action would involve demonstrations, strikes, leafleting and flashmob protests at stores all over the US. “We are going to do everything it takes to make sure change is made,” Harris said. Fellow Walmart worker Evelin Cruz, who works at a store in California, said that workers would see to educate the millions of shoppers who flock to stores to snap up bargain goods as part of the holiday celebrations. “We are in this process because Walmart does not want to come to terms with what is going on in their stores,” she said.
Tags: exploitation, protest, strike, Wal-Mart, workers
Warehouse workers have walked off the job and onto the streets to bring safety to their workplaces in southern California and Illinois.
As I explained back in July, the supply chain of Wal-Mart and other sellers of cheap goods in the United States involves the exploitation of workers in both offshore manufacturing and, lest we forget, onshore warehousing.
Tags: China, exploitation, United States, Wal-Mart, workers
Much of the discussion of the so-called Wal-Mart model focuses on the offshoring of low-wage manufacturing jobs, especially to China. What we tend to forget about is the onshoring of other jobs, especially those involved in transportation and distribution. Those jobs create surplus for the firms that run the warehouses for Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers, and are an important condition of their low prices.
Paul Harris describes the conditions in California’s Inland Empire:
While much recent attention has focused on abuses at the outsourced Chinese supply chains of companies like Apple, some experts believe Walmart’s US-based supply chain is built on a similar model, but one constructed within America US itself.
As is common in China, the supply chain is marked by layers upon layers of subcontracting. So, while every single box packed and unpacked at NFI Crossdock is destined for Walmart, the warehouse is owned, run and staffed by myriad other companies. The supply model has been dubbed “insourcing”, and experts say it is defined by ruthless cost-cutting as each layer of subcontracting seeks to eke out a profit margin.
“Walmart’s suppliers run out of places to squeeze out the costs, and they are left with the workers,” said Catherine Ruckelshaus, co-author of a recent report on the supply chain called Chain of Greed, that was produced by the National Employment Law Project.
Walmart is not the only big-box retailer supplied by the huge warehouses of the Inland Empire. Other major firms, such as K-Mart, Home Depot and Toyota, also work there. But Walmart sets the model for the others by its sheer size.
The impact of the immense pressure on Walmart suppliers can easily be seen at what workers call simply “the Crossdock”. Workers say they are given brutal quotas for the number of boxes that they need to shift each hour. Supervisors, they say, make it clear that any failure to meet those quotas – even at the risk of physical injury – could be the loss of a job. “I feel that I am just something they could use and throw away,” said Limber Herrera, 29, pictured, who is supporting a wife and two children on his wage.
The supply chain of Wal-Mart and other sellers of cheap goods in the United States involves the exploitation of workers in both offshore manufacturing and, lest we forget, onshore warehousing.
Tags: chart, prices, San Francisco, wages, Wal-Mart, workers
I know: it’s actually a table not a chart. But I don’t want to create a new category. . .
Marlon G. Boarnet et al. [pdf] show that, in the Bay Area, average grocery wages are about 60 percent higher than Wal-Mart wages. Moreover, converting the benefit packages into hourly wage equivalents, total compensation at unionized Bay Area grocery firms rises to about double that typical for Wal-Mart.
The conclusion: low wages and benefits are the high cost for Wal-Mart’s low prices.