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Striking Warehouse Workers Go Back To Work; Walmart Retail Employees Walk Out

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 10, 2012 3:30PM

Via Warehouse Workers For Justice

Striking workers at a Walmart distribution center in Elwood, Illinois won a victory this week when the managing subcontractor RoadLink rescinded the worker’s suspensions after they confronted the employer demanding better conditions. In September, workers began striking after being suspended for demanding a living wage and more reasonable hours. Earlier this month, some 600 people rallied at the warehouse in support of them, which shut down the distribution center for the day.

The 38 workers will return to work with full pay for the time they were on strike. Ted Ledwa, one of the striking workers, said in a press release “With this victory, we forced the company to respect our rights. We showed that when workers are united we can stand up to the biggest corporations in the world and win.” They say their fight however, isn’t over. Progress Illinois reports Phil Bailey, another striking employee, said that the settlement with the 38 workers was “absolutely empowering,” but that it will “take years and hundreds more people” to improve working conditions. Bailey and three others have filed a lawsuit against RoadLink and an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

Meanwhile, workers at several Walmart retail locations across the country walked off the job this week. The walkout began yesterday, with 88 workers from 28 stores in Dallas, Seattle, Miami, L.A., Chicago and other cities. “I make $8.90 an hour and I’ve worked at Walmart for three years,” a striking worker from Dallas told the Huffington Post, everyone at my store lives from check to check and borrows money from each other just to make it through the week.” A press release from the United Food and Commercial Workers stated that while the front line workers face financial hardships, the company pulls in $16 billion a year in profits and its executives made $10 million in compensation last year.

Today workers and their supporters plan to protest at 35 different Walmart locations in Chicago, including the Walmart express at 570 W. Monroe.