Last week, workers at Wal-Mart stores in Southern California walked off the job in what was, per Salon, the first multi-store strike in the retail giant's history. Today, the protest made its way to Dallas.
Workers at nine area Wal-Mart stores walked off the job this morning to demand higher wages and better working conditions. A few dozen of them gathered in front of the Wal-Mart on Wheatland Road in southern Dallas.
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Stacy Cottongame is an overnight stocker at store in Ennis who walked out at about 6:30 a.m. with a handful of coworkers before making her way to the Dallas store. Several months ago, she had her "D-Day" (short for "day of decision"), when she had to write an essay and otherwise convince managers to keep her on the job. It was unfair and humiliating, she said, and it prompted her to search out OUR Wal-Mart, a group helping organize the protests.
Her other critiques -- that Wal-Mart employees are poorly paid, experience poor working conditions, and are generally treated with a lack of respect by the company -- are familiar.
The walk-outs involved a handful of employees from several different stores, and the Wheatland Road location remains open as protesters picket outside. The response from customers has ranged from supportive to sort of puzzled, Cottongame said.
Calls to the Wheatland Road Wal-Mart were referred to the company's corporate headquarters. Company spokesman Dan Fogelman told Salon "There is nothing new, nor historic, about the fact that labor unions want to organize Walmart. Their rally was just the latest publicity stunt by [the United Food & Commercial Workers union] to seek media attention in order to further its political agenda and financial objectives."