Last Thursday, Wal-Mart filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board to block Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) protesters from picketing outside of stores on Black Friday.
Walmart claims that OUR Walmart actions planned for Friday are part of continuing protests by United Food and Commercial Workers Union (U.F.C.W) and would be illegal under the National Labor Relations Act since the protesters have exceeded the maximum 30 days of permitted picketing. OUR Walmart was considered a subsidiary of the U.F.C.W. as of 2011. Yet, Jill Cashen, Communications Director for the U.F.C.W, insists that OUR Walmart has "grown and gained independence" and since then has become their own group.
Since the labor board often takes months to review and rule on complaints, it is unlikely that Walmart will receive an injunction by Friday. However, according to Angela B. Cornell, Director of the Labor Law Clinic at Cornell Law School, this recent measure is likely meant to be a warning against those employees considering action in what Walmart insists is "illegal picketing".
In response to the action, Cashen has said, "Walmart is grasping at straws . . . there's nothing in the law that gives an employer the right to silence workers and citizens." William B. Gould IV, former chairman of the labor board under the Clinton administration remarked in the New York Times "I don't see this translating into a great deal of success in terms of unionizing Wal-Mart or in terms of being particularly effective in improving conditions. But I must say if [Wal-Mart has] gone to the N.L.R.B. on this, that must show that Wal-Mart is really concerned."
OUR Walmart is trying to recruit a wide variety of allies for the action. They are working with religious leaders about holding prayers vigils at Wal-Mart locations in support of better worker treatment and are preparing fliers that community and civil rights groups can use to publicize the event.
Last month, Walmart employees in 12 states walked off the job in protest of working conditions and wages. Additionally, current employees of Walmart stores in Tennessee, California, and Texas have filed class-action lawsuits against the corporation on the basis of sex discrimination.
Media Resources: NY Times 11/18/12; Fox Business 11/16/12; Feminist Newswire 10/10/12, 10/03/12, 09/25/12, 02/21/12
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .