Across the country low-wage workers of all sectors went on strike demanding a raise to the minimum wage to $15/hour. From Boston to Los Angelos and even globally, low-wage workers were making noise on tax day.
David Moberg an award-winning journalist for In These Times reports:
Fast Food Workers in 236 Cities Pull Off Largest Strikes Yet as Other Low-wage Workers Join Fight
A hand-lettered placard, reading “McDonald’s: Stop Fooling Around, $15 and a union,” caught the spirit of the crowd of at least 3,000 protestors in Chicago for a march to a McDonald’s restaurant in the downtown Loop area connected to the Chicago Board of Trade. In 236 cities in the U.S. and roughly 100 more around the world from Sao Paulo to New Zealand and from Glasgow to Tokyo, according to protest spokespeople, fast food and other low-wage workers joined together to pressure employers like McDonald’s to raise their workers’ pay.
Organizers claimed that it was the largest protest by low-wage workers in U.S. history. And it may very well rank as one of the broadest global worker protests ever undertaken against multinational corporations—one reinforced by recent investigations and lawsuits in Europe against the company for violations of labor, health, safety, tax and other laws.
With its intense public relations campaign, the campaign amplifies the actions of fast food workers—some of whom walk off their assigned shifts as in a traditional strike. For brand-sensitive consumer product companies, many organizers believe, such bad publicity can cost companies greatly—and potentially open up new organizing possibilities.
These protests have also changed the political climate, both locally and nationally. Seattle and Sea-Tac in Washington and San Francisco have raised their minimum to $15 an hour. The same change may be possible sometime soon in both Los Angeles and the District of Columbia. In Chicago, politically embattled Mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed under political pressure to raise the minimum to $13 over several years—far above what he would have contemplated a short while ago. The movement is likely to keep pressure over the coming year on Democratic candidates, even presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton, to advocate the higher pay levels.
For more click to In These Times: Fast Food Workers…
But there’s always a push-back when one pushes the powerful and nowhere is that more evident than right here in good ole America. A writer for Daily KOS connects the dots with the mysterious “plumbing issues” closings of Wal-Marts across the country. It seems that possibly, its not really plumbing that Wal-Mart intends to fix, but more likely, the “problem” of workers standing up for themselves:
In a highly unusual move Monday, Walmart closed 5 stores, citing plumbing problems requiring a 6 month closure being needed for repairs to be made. The closures were made suddenly with as little as 5 hours notice to many of the employees of the pending closures and layoffs. This is a highly unusual move by Walmart when you look at the work being done in the stores through renovations and upgrading to Walmart SuperCenters where contractors and employees were forced to work through the projects without store closures. This raises suspicion that the reason for the store closures may be something other than what Walmart is claiming publicly.
The stores closing are located in the southern tier of the US coast to coast. The stores are located in:
Pico Rivera, CA. 530 employees, were told they will continue to receive regular pay, and benefits for 60 days, along with possibly being transferred to another store.
Midland, TX. 400 employees, were told they would be able to transfer to other stores or, get the compensation packages. With 60 days pay due to the short notice of closing and are eligible will receive a severance pay of one week of pay per year of service. Upon reopening current employees who did not stay with Wal-Mart will have to reapply.
Livingston, Tx. 400 employees, employees will receive two months pay, with some being eligible for severance pay, and also a position at another store which isn’t guaranteed.
Tulsa, OK. 400 employees, employees will receive two months pay, with some being eligible for severance pay 1 week per year worked, and also a position at another store which isn’t guaranteed.
Brandon, FL. 400-500 employees, who will be able to receive two months pay, severance pay depending on length of service, and possibly a transfer to another store.
It should be noted that the 60 days pay is required by law in the event of a closure without notice and not the benevolence of America’s Richest Family. All of the affected stores have had at least 100 plumbing issues documented in the last year claimed by Walmart as the reason for closing. Despite that claim several news reports claim to have contacted local building officials asking if permits have been applied for or, plans have been submitted and none were noted as of yet. Building officials also stated that no building code violations were noted at the locations. In addition no contractors or repair services have been visible at any of the locations closing. Liberty Tax Service who had kiosks in many of the stores were also suddenly told to vacate the building along with the employees on April 13th, just 2 days before the April 15th, IRS Tax Filing Deadline.
But there’s more! Read on at Daily KOS: Wal Mart Temporarily Closes Stores