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Wal-Mart Warehouse Walk: Employees Strike To Protest Conditions

Usually the word “walk” in the context of a strike refers to walking off the job. In the case of a California Wal-Mart contractor’s warehouse, however, employees planned a 50 mile walk from the warehouse to Los Angeles. Because these employees are not affiliated with a union, they run the risk of losing their jobs under California’s “at will” employment rule.

The march began last Thursday and participants expected to spend six days on the road. Although only 30 employees are actually striking the facility, the march has attracted supporters from similar companies. As a result, the group expected 50 people to march on each of the six days.

Located in Mira Loma, California, their employer is a Wal-Mart contractor warehouse. The employees complain that their jobs require them to spend most of their time in hot vehicles with no air conditioning and no fans. They claim that temperatures frequently reach 120 degrees. Most disturbingly, the employees also complain of a lack of clean drinking water to stay hydrated while working in high heat. The striking employees planned to deliver a letter to Los Angeles Wal-Mart executives outlining these concerns.

It is somewhat unusual for employees to strike without the support of a union. In the absence of a contract or collective bargaining agreement saying otherwise, employers may legally fire employees for any reason or no reason. Despite the relatively high profile nature of the strike, these employees may risk losing their jobs.

Source: Claremont-LaVerne Patch, “Warehouse Workers Walk 50 Miles to Protest Walmart,” Melanie C. Johnson, Sept. 15, 2012

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