retail and food

Wal-Mart: The high cost of low price (documentary)

Wal-Mart has become one of America’s most successful retail chains by offering everyday goods at low prices for working families. But just how is Wal-Mart able to charge less than many of their rivals, and what has their success done for their employees? Documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald takes a look inside the discount retailer’s empire in Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, and discovers a company short on scruples and long on shabby treatment of the people who work for them.

Hard-hitting documentary looking at the business practices of American retail giant Wal Mart. Interviewing current and former employees, director Robert Greenwald assembles evidence that demonstrates the ways in which the company is forcing small businesses to close, as well as attacking its restrictive, anti-union employment policies.

A review: socialist organizing attempts at Pizza Hut

A brief article by John O'Reilly on Socialist Alternative's efforts in fast food organizing.

The IWW is hardly the first organization to attempt to take on the terrible conditions that rule today in the food and retail industry in North America. In the heyday of industrial unionism, restaurants were frequently organized as part of larger drives by unions to organize basic industry.

Union busting at American Apparel Japan

Flyer distributed by Tokyo Seibu Union during industrial action

Management at the Jiyugaoka American Apparel Outlet in Tokyo have unfairly dismissed an employee, and are closing the store in an alleged union busting exercise.

The dispute was triggered on August 20th when a part-time store-attendant was dismissed without legitimate reason. Management claimed that this action was in response to the employee's violation of work rules.

Manhattan bakery workers fight-back against union busting bosses

The largely immigrant workforce at the Hot and Crusty bakery on 63rd and 2nd avenue in Manhattan, sick of working for abusive bosses, and for less than the minimum wage, voted to form an independent association and register with the National Labour Relations Board.

The owners of Hot and Crusty decided to sack all the workers and close the bakery, rather than allow workers to participate in any kind of union activity. They then planned to wait for a short period of time and then re-open the bakery with a new set of non-unionised workers.

Solidarity unionism at Starbucks: the IWW uses Section 7

An article from Staughton Lynd and Daniel Gross on the IWW's organizing at Starbucks. Originally appeared in WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society (September 2007).

Union busting at Palermo’s pizza

Workers at Palermo's pizzas have been fired on the bogus pretext of immigration laws as a punishment for daring to try to unionise a poorly paid and dangerous workplace. The workers are on strike, and calling for a boycott of Palermo's products, and demanding the reinstatement of the sacked workers.

In Milwaukee, around 75% of workers at Palermo’s Pizza’s organised a meeting in which they all signed a petition saying that they wanted to unionise. They then handed the petition to the company management.

Small time unionism

Kevin S on the contradictions between being a union with more experience with smaller employers and growing to be able to exert power on bigger targets.

An organization’s behavior is shaped as much or more by external “objective” conditions, and immediate real life circumstance, as by “subjective” ideological intentions. Our union is no exception.

IWW cleaners at John Lewis going on strike

IWW Cleaners Protest at John Lewis Oxford St. Store

The independent union the Industrial Workers of the World has today served notice for strike action of cleaners at the John Lewis Partnership’s flagship Oxford Street store. This is the first strike in the history of the Partnership only recently hailed by Deputy Minister Nick Clegg as a model for the British economy.

The campaign of industrial action will commence on Friday 13th July 2012. If a settlement is not reached the IWW has made clear it will announce further strikes in July and August, including through the Olympic period.

Holland & Barrett quit workfare after direct action

Holland & Barrett picket

Campaigners are claiming a major scalp in the fight against workfare after retailer Holland & Barrett announced they were pulling out of the scheme.

On hearing the news, Brighton Solidarity Federation tweeted "we've won an important battle against workfare, but the war is far from over." The announcement came just 24 hours before a planned national week of action against workfare organised by the Boycott Workfare Network.

Week of Action Against Workfare

SLSF Press release on week of action against workfare


South London Solidarity Federation will be joining a week of action against Holland and Barrett's involvement in workfare from 7th to 14th July. The week will see stores picketed all over the country and SLSF are calling protests outside several South London branches of the multinational-owned store.