The Nation caught up with some of the striking Walmart workers last week, specifically Colby Harris, from Dallas:
Dallas striker Colby Harris emphasized that despite issues with low pay and repeated retaliation, he’s committed to remaining a Walmart worker. “If you leave this job, you’re going to face retaliation in some form somewhere else…,” he said last night. “If you change Walmart, and you change corporate America, it can really better a lot of people’s lives.”
Harris toldÂ The NationÂ that the main purpose of today’s picketing outside his Dallas store is to send a message to the workers inside: that “you can speak up and not get punished.” What if Walmart retaliates? “We’ll just take more actions…,” said Harris. “It will not be accepted or tolerated.” He said that going on strike last month heightened his confidence: “I’m not as nervous to take actions now. I know I’ve done it before…I can do it again.”
This, though, was all before yesterday’s news that Walmart has asked the National Labor Relations Board to block the strikes, which could mean trouble for the striking workers:
While the NLRB is most often criticized by conservatives, its swiftest and strongest remedies are devoted to restricting unions. Federal law requires the NLRB to prioritize employers’ allegations of illegal picketing over other charges, and to request an injunction to stop the picketing if it finds “reasonable cause” to believe such allegations are correct, and expects to issue a complaint (the equivalent of an indictment). So injunctions restricting picketing are often granted within a few days of workers’ going on strike (in contrast, workers who allege they were fired for their union activism often wait for months, injunction-less, to find out whether they’ll get their jobs back). Experts say that, if Walmart has strong enough evidence, an injunction could potentially be issued in time to block Black Friday pickets. But that’s a very big “if.”
But look at these deals!Â Samsung 32″ TVS for $249! An olde-tyme popcorn machine for $49! A pair of human kidneys for only $79.99!
Meanwhile, Occupy Dallas is planning to support striking workers at the DeSoto Walmart on Friday.
UPDATE: 200 Dallas-area employees are expected to walk out Thursday night, the Observer reports.