“The shift towards temp work is creating an economy in which working people who move and produce products for some of our nation’s largest and most profitable corporations are treated like any other input, to be acquired at the cheapest cost,” said the report's co-author Rebecca Smith, NELP's deputy director. “Staffing agencies not only fail to provide livable wages, benefits or job security for their workers, but their influence in an industry can lower standards for all workers in that industry.”
One year after a Bangladesh factory that produced Walmart clothing collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people, the retailer is still turning a blind eye to dangerous conditions in their supply chain, according to a group of activists who staged a protest Thursday on the North Side of Chicago.
“We’ve been seeing problems after problems in Walmart’s contracted warehouses and it’s time Walmart step up and take responsibility and fix these problems,” said Mark Meinster, campaign director for Warehouse Workers for Justice.
Meinster was one of more than two dozen people who protested Thursday outside Chicago’s Walmart Express, at 2844 N. Broadway, to demand better wages and improved working conditions for employees of the world’s largest retailer and its factories.
“Walmart could easily have fixed the problems in Bangladesh, and they could easily fix problems in their warehouses here in the U.S., but so far they’ve refused to do so,” Meinster said.
group of Chicago clergy leaders gathered with Walmart employees and
their supporters Wednesday, calling on the mega retailer to improve
work conditions and provide better wages so its workers do not have to rely on public assistance programs to cover their basic needs.
a news conference outside a Chatham neighborhood Walmart, pastor
Walter Turner with the New Spiritual Light Missionary Baptist Church on
the South Side said the community will not tolerate the world's largest
retailer "pimping the employees."
"Walmart workers deserve to be
treated with dignity and respect," he said. "They deserve better working
conditions which ensure they earn at least $25,000 a year, so they can
take care of their family and not have to rely upon taxpayer dollars to
An overwhelming majority of women employed in Will County’s
warehouses regularly face sexual harassment and gender discrimination in
the workplace, according to Warehouse Workers for Justice (WWJ). The
organization has partnered with local lawmakers to form a special task
force intended to address the issue.
task force, comprised of several Joliet City Council members,Will
County Board members and community activists, announced their formation
at a press conference Monday.
The group aims to determine the scope of the problem and prepare preventative policy recommendations by 2014.
seen women be targeted or retaliated against because they spoke out or
refused sexual advances from supervisors,” said Cindy Marble, a lifelong
resident of Joliet and community organizer with WWJ.
A class action lawsuit filed Monday by twenty Chicago area Walmart workers is just the latest action against the retail giant. Walmart is also subject to a lawsuit by Chicago area supply workers and a planned employee walkout on “Black Friday”, the day after Thanksgiving shopping frenzy.
There's no obvious reason these anti-Walmart initiatives are all happening now.
Robert Bruno, director of the University of Illinois-Chicago labor studies department, credits the “constant experimentation” of unions such as the United Food and Commercial Workers, or UFCW, following the failure of more traditional unionization efforts.
One local explanation for the latest flurry of actions against the retail giant is that workers have started to take advantage of a recent state law.
Walwart workers participated in a simultaneous walkout and strike Wednesday at about 35 stores in the Chicago area.
walkouts included in-store “associates” who say they’ve been mistreated
by managers and are paid extremely low wages for demanding work. These
local strikers joined hundreds of similar protestors who walked off
their Walmart jobs in cities across the country Tuesday, including Seattle, Miami, and Washington, D.C.
Employees at a giant Walmart supply warehouse in rural Will County
returned to work Saturday after staging a 21-day strike in response to
alleged employer retaliation by a Walmart subcontractor.
The settlement with RoadLink
– a California-based subcontractor that helps staff Schneider
Logistics, the Walmart warehouse in Elwood – comes amid a historic
walkout by Walmart retail workers throughout the country. It also
follows Walmart supply workers in the Los Angeles area ending their own strike.
Just days after striking warehouse workers staged a large blockade
outside a major Walmart supply warehouse in the suburbs, a group of
like-minded labor advocates marched in front of a downtown Chicago
The group, lead by Chicago Jobs With Justice, contained some of the same workers who attended Monday’s rally, like Dakari Whitfield.
Whitfield told Progress Illinois
that many employees in the suburban Elmwood warehouse work in harsh
conditions indoors without good ventilation, rarely get paid on time,
and are treated badly when they complain to managers.
an unfair labor practices strike. We’re asking for a set schedule,
benefits, and maybe transportation,” Whitfield said. “When we presented
this position, people got fired and suspended.”