Richmond California Walmart Workers Walk Off the Job
November 6, 2012
Diane Cohen, LaborPress Washington DC Bureau
Richmond, California–On the heels of first-ever strikes by Walmart workers across the country, workers at the Walmart Supercenter in Richmond walked off the job November 2nd as the store held its grand re-opening. Joined by community leaders who have been calling for changes at Walmart, workers are on strike in protest of the attempts to silence and retaliate against workers. At the Richmond store, Walmart workers had been working hard to help the store reach it’s grand re-opening date all while facing illegal intimidation from a store manager, including racist remarks and threats of physical violence.
“We will not be silenced by Walmart for standing up for respect and against harassment, intimidation and retaliation,” said Mario Hammod, a worker at the Richmond Walmart. Hammod is one of thousands of members of the national worker-led Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) that has been calling for changes at the company. “In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez, I am taking a stand against Walmart’s illegal bullying tactics and practicing my right to peacefully hold a sit-in. We want to be able to celebrate the store’s re-opening, but we cannot continue to work under these conditions of retaliation.”
In an expression of the building frustration that Walmart has not only ignored workers calls for change in Richmond and across the country, but actually retaliated against workers who do speak out, national leaders from civil rights, immigrant rights and women’s rights communities, religious institutions, unions and community leaders have committed to join striking workers in a wide range of non-violent activities on and leading up to Black Friday, including rallies, flash mobs, direct action and other efforts to inform customers about the illegal actions that Walmart has been taking against its workers.
“We cannot stand by while Walmart retaliates against workers who are standing up for a better future for their families,” said Rev. Phillip Lawson, Co-Founder of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Rev. Lawson, along with other supporters and community groups across the country, has been calling for change through the Unified Call to Change Walmart. “Racist and threatening comments from Walmart will not be tolerated here in Richmond or anywhere. Walmart should be creating good jobs, not threatening workers and turning its backs on the hard-working people that made this ribbon-cutting possible.”