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It’s that time of year again: the day after Thanksgiving, when retailers count on door-buster markdowns and brutally expanded hours to make a pot of money all in one sitting. For the past four years, it’s also been the day that Walmart workers have chosen to maximize the impact of their protests on the retail giant.
This year, as OUR Walmart has become a more independent organization from the union that helped found it, the UFCW, Walmart workers and their allies across a bigger-than-ever group of organizations have undertaken a “Fast for $15,” calling attention to the way workers at Walmart often don’t make enough money to feed themselves properly, and in very old-school hunger-strike fashion, taken their fast to the doorsteps of the rich and powerful within Walmart. We spoke to Dan Schlademan, co-director of OUR Walmart, and Tyfani Faulkner, who was in the middle of her fifteen days without food, about the week’s actions and the startling news that OUR Walmart was under surveillance by the FBI and Lockheed Martin at the behest of Walmart.
We also bring you an update on the aftermath of the Tazreen factory fire, some working conditions of hotel housekeepers, and a look at how student protests on university campuses are making labor demands. For Argh, some thoughts on the cult of the amateur, and the efforts of one radical union to stand up for racial justice during the Second World War.
Michelle: 8 in 10 Hotel Workers Have Been Harassed At Work (The Nation)
Three years after Tazreen factory fire Walmart still refuses to pay (International Labor Rights Forum)
Michelle: The Other Side of Black Friday Price Tags (The Nation)
UNC Students list of demands (WRAL)
Sarah: What’s the real reason behind Walmart store shutdowns? (DAME)
Sarah: Workers Confront Walmart Executives at Star-Studded Company Event (Truthout)
Michelle: What You Should Know About Walmart’s Raise (The Nation)
Michelle: How the Retail Industry Keeps People of Color in Poverty (The Nation)
Argh, I Wish I’d Written That!
Michelle: Peter Cole, When America Was Overcome with Anti-Japanese Xenophobia During WWII, One Union Fought Back (In These Times)
Sarah: Amanda Hess, The Cult of the Amateur (New York Times Magazine)