Today, workers at a Walmart store in Miami went on strike. They held a 7 a.m. protest this morning and will follow up with a 4 p.m. protest this afternoon. The action is part of the steady buildup toward Black Friday actions set for the day after Thanksgiving. Walmart workers with the non-union worker organization OUR Walmart have been calling for better wages and an end to retaliation for those who speak out. This year’s Black Friday will be the second Thanksgiving shopping holiday that OUR Walmart plans to impact with its strikes and protests. Organizers announced last week that the retail giant can expect protests at 1,500 store locations this year.
In the last three weeks workers at Los Angeles, Sacramento, Seattle, Dayton, Cincinnati, Dallas, Chicago and Pittsburgh Walmart stores have gone on strike. In Florida, Miami’s striking workers were joined for a 7a.m. protest this morning by workers from Walmart’s Tampa store who went on strike this weekend.
Jaime Martinez, a Tampa Walmart store employee who works night shifts on maintenance, was one of them. "We went to Miami to let people know how the Walmart associates are being treated," Martinez told Colorlines. "A lot of them are being treated unfairly."
Martinez said he went on strike because he was sick of the treatment he received after almost 16 years at his job. He recalled an incident from earlier this year in September when he had to be admitted to the hospital for a ruptured appendix. "I called Walmart, and let them know that I’m not going to be able to return to work right away." When he did make it back, he found out that while he was hospitalized he’d been written up for being absent at work. Enough writeups and Martinez could lose his job. "That was a slap in my face," Martinez said.
Martinez said about seven workers from the Tampa Walmart where he works went on strike, and estimated that some 50 people took part in this morning’s protest.