Friday, May 31, 2013

Local Walmart worker joins nationwide, prolonged strike

Striking worker will join caravan to Walmart shareholders meeting in Arkansas to call for better jobs

SAN DIEGO – Armando Valenzuela, an employee of Walmart store 2291 in Chula Vista, CA, today went on strike, joining more than 100 other Walmart workers across the country. Valenzuela presented the manager of his Walmart store with a letter outlining the basis for his Unfair Labor Practices Strike lasting for one week.

"Every one of my Walmart co-workers across the country has their own awful story, but they aren't all yet ready to to risk their jobs to speak out," said Armando Valenzuela, striking Walmart employee. "I'm standing up today and taking the message to Walmart headquarters on behalf of the millions of Walmart employees who deserve so much better."

Valenzuela will now join a Freedom Rider-inspired “Ride for Respect” caravan to Bentonville, Arkansas to participate in the Walmart shareholders meeting on June 7, 2013. Workers from 12 states so far have gone on strike, and members of the caravan will deliver a petition at the shareholders meeting calling on Walmart to publicly commit to jobs with full-time hours and a minimum salary of $25,000.

"All workers, union and non-union, deserve basic respect and the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families," said Richard Barrera, Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego Labor Council. "We continue to call on Walmart and all employers to be responsible community partners and treat their workers with dignity and fairness."

The first prolonged strike in Walmart history, the national action follows the first coordinated Walmart strikes in October and nationwide Black Friday walkouts in November.

"It takes tremendous courage to stand up against the biggest corporation in America," said Mickey Kasparian, President of UFCW Local 135. "I'm proud to stand with Armando and all the everyday workers throughout this process to demand fair and decent treatment for all Walmart employees."

The group OUR Walmart recently filed thirty counts of unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board, including alleged acts of retaliation and intimidation by Walmart management.

"One of the most fundamental elements of our social contract is the fundamental commitment that if you work hard and do your share, you'll be able to afford to live safely and healthily," said Rabbi Laurie Coskey, Executive Director of the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice. "But it takes more than simply believing; it takes people like Armando who are willing to stand up and fight against corporations who aren't working in good faith with our communities."

San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council
The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO includes 135 affiliated labor groups in the region with a membership of more than 200,000 working families.  Founded in 1891, the Labor Council advocates for more jobs, better jobs and better lives for all of San Diego’s workers – union and non-union.

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