Workers have today walked off the job at seven branches of Walmart across Dallas. The workers then joined protests outside, demanding that workers are paid a minimum of $25,000 a year. The action organised by the ‘OUR Walmart’ campaign has been played down by company lickspittles, who claim that very few employees have been involved, and that busloads of pickets had been transported between stores to boost numbers.
These latest walkouts follow on from similar wildcat actions in Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Miami. They are planning more of the same on ‘Black Friday’, traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year, which signals the start of the Christmas shopping period.
A toadying Walmart spokesperson claimed that:
Striking workers peacefully picketing at Insomnia Cookies, Harvard Square, MA, have been attacked and arrested by the local police.
Picketers were asked to stop using a PA system, which they did, but were then attacked for no apparent reason. IWW member, Jason Freedman, was ‘punched and bloodied before being ‘thrown onto the trunk of a car’.
On Tuesday morning over 600 school bus drivers in Boston took wildcat action. They are angry at the complete ineffectiveness of their trade union (USW) and at the union-busting city administration, and the management style of Veolia, the private company now running the buses. Following an unsuccessful attempt at gaining an injunction, the mayor arranged a city wide scabbing operation by the police. The predictable purge and victimisation by bosses and union bureaucrats has now begun.
The dispute has been brought to a head due to the knock on effect of the Government shutdown. A dispute had been lodged with the National Labour Relations Board, but as they have not been working the dispute has not been looked at yet. The drivers decide to take matters into their own hands.
On Saturday September 21st there began a 10 day mass agitation by Bangladeshi Ready Made Garment(RMG) workers demanding a 170% increase in their minimum wage.
The reforms announced by government and industry in the aftermath of the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza disasters included a review of the minimum wage for garment workers. The wage was last raised in 2010 while the cost of living has risen 2.5 times. Workers struggle to survive and many are malnutritious.
A short history of the militant nationwide wildcat strike of truck drivers in the Teamsters union against a union-management agreed pay rise of $1.10 an hour, which won a much bigger rise.
This development of rank-and-file independence from the trade union leadership and from orderly collective bargaining in the late 1960s/early 1970s in US, in addition to the national postal workers' wildcat strike, was also well illustrated in the 1970 Teamsters wildcat.
Jeremy Brecher's account of the strike wave in American mines from 1919 to 1922, where coalminers fought the bosses, the government and even the unions often pitched battles involving guns, dynamite and even a makeshift air force.
Most protracted of all the US industrial disputes of 1919 was the mass strike in the coal fields, with sporadic strikes, national strikes, and armed battles running from 1919 into 1922.