Laurel Walmart Workers Join National Strike

Employees held a demonstration Tuesday in the store's parking lot.

Eleven workers from Laurel's Walmart Supercenter joined a walkout effort Tuesday that has spread to stores in at least a dozen states, according to union officials.

Carrying signs that read "respect our freedom to speak out" and "stop silencing workers," the striking employees held a demonstration in the parking lot of the store just off of Fort Meade Road.

"We have spoken out about things like Walmart's low take-home pay, unpredictable work schedule, and unaffordable health care benefits," Walmart Associate Cindy Murray read from a statement during the protest. "I believe in a better Walmart and that attempting to retaliate against associates who want to make Walmart a better place to work takes the company in a wrong direction."

The workers recited protest songs and had a brief conversation with a store manager, who told the group that Walmart would continue not to retaliate against employees seeking to organize.

David Tovar, a spokesman for Walmart, told the New York Times that all of its 4,000-plus stores were open and adequately staffed despite the walkout, dismissing it as an attempt by unions to advance their own political agenda.

"We have some of the best jobs in retail," Tovar said. "Our full-time average wage is $12.54 an hour, which is $5.00 above the federal minimum wage."

Additional demonstrations are planned today for the Laurel, Capital Plaza, and Rhode Island Avenue (D.C.) Walmart locations.

View a video of Tuesday's Laurel strike from UFCW Local 400.

Jay Friedman October 14, 2012 at 01:59 PM
The unionization attempt from a national view has been a total failure. United Food and Commercial Workers union has been trying to get representation for over 25 years without success. Yes, now that the company is in major retail markets with prevailing wages for full timers above the min. wage, the company has had to pay up and the union efforts have gotten some attention. Just no contract. However, 25 years ago, before people in the Metro area saw a local Wal Mart, the stores were in small town America. The unions portrayed the company as destroyers of small town Main Street. The company strategy was to be in towns where the minimum, or near the minimum was was common and unions were looked down upon. That successful plan allowed them to have so many stores that by the time Wal Mart hit major markets like DC, it was big enough to keep the unions out. Yes, full time experienced workers get a better deal than some department stores. However, the part-time full time blend skews higher for the part time employees working less than 20 hours per week. Min. wage IS the standard pay for those PT-under 20hr. workers, not just in Wal Mart, but in most jobs. Most major retailers are starting this class of worker at the min. wage. Target pays a few part timers at $11-12 per hour, NOTE TO LAUREL WAL MART EMPLOYEES: You need to pray for a decent holiday sales report. Your comps need to be plus 2-4pts. If not, start looking for work elsewhere.


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