Protests aimed at disrupting Black Friday sales events at Walmart stores around the country began yesterday with walk-outs at a number of stores and the promise of more actions in the lead-up to what is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.
Employees at six Seattle area Walmart stores walked off the job yesterday, protesting what they say is low pay, too few hours and retaliation by managers against workers who speak out. Another walkout is in progress at a warehouse supply location in Mira Loma, California and picket lines are in place this morning at a Walmart store in Dallas, Texas.
The news comes amid controversy about plans by Walmart and other large chains to open on Thanksgiving evening, kicking off Black Friday a day early.
Josh Eidelson at The Nation reports this morning:
Dan Schlademan, a United Food & Commercial Workers union official who directs the allied group Making Change at Walmart, told reporters that strikes are planned in cities including Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, and Washington, DC, and states including Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Minnesota. Schlademan said that organizers aren’t publicly announcing which stores are involved because that could provide grist for Walmart’s allegedly illegal campaign to suppress participation.
These latest strikes follow news of a strike-forged victory against a Walmart contractor. On Wednesday, the National GuestworkerAlliance celebrated a legal settlement reached between the Labor Department and the logistics company Exel, which operates warehouses employing guest workers for several major companies. While the agreement concerns unpaid wages owed to workers at Hershey’s Chocolate, it also requires Exel to implement new labor protections at all of its US warehouses – some of which it runs for Walmart. These new rules include more direct responsibility for the conduct of sub-contractors and temp agencies, terms that NGA wants to see Walmart impose on all of its contractors
UFCW’s Schlademan says that employees will stage 1,000 unique protests around the country on Black Friday. The events, most of which will take place at Walmart stores, will include walkouts, flash mobs, and “educating” shoppers on the workers’ plight. “We’re seeing unprecedented support. In my 20 years of organizing I’ve never seen this kind of activity. It’s going to be a very creative day.”
From Alternet’s Lynn Stuart Parramore:
Credo Action, a network of progressive activists born out of virtual network operator Credo Mobile, has announced its solidarity with Walmart workers by starting a campaign to pressure board chairman Rob Walton to meet with striking workers and hear their demands for better pay and decent working conditions. So far, Credo’s petition has gathered by over 80,000 signatures .
Becky Bond, political director of Credo Action, released a statement explaining her organization’s position on the giant retailer’s refusal to respect its employees:
“Credo activists across the country have the backs of Walmart’s striking workers. While Walmart rakes in billions in profits, many of their employees are fighting for better working conditions and fair wages. There’s absolutely no excuse for the nation’s largest retailer to treat their employees this way. Rob Walton should meet with the striking workers immediately.”
Go here for the latest on this story.
Dannon Concedes in County Supes Race
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has its first Democratic member in nearly two decades, as GOP candidate Steve Danon issued a written statement conceding defeat yesterday. Solana Beach City Councilman Dave Roberts will be representing the 3rd District on the board, replacing Pam-Slater-Price who is retiring after holding the post since 1995.
Results posted yesterday by the San Diego County Registrar of voters show Roberts leading by 2,800 votes, which is 50.81 percent of the total vote. Although provisional ballots are still being counted, the decision to concede was made in light of a steadily increasing lead for the Democratic challenger.
“As votes continue to be tallied, it is clear that the people have made their decision, and so today I have congratulated Dave Roberts for being elected the next San Diego County Supervisor,” Danon stated.
According to a story in the Encinitas Patch, Roberts is the openly gay member of the Board of Supervisors.
Special Election to Be Held in 4th District, SD City Councilman Tony Young Out
The Red Cross announced today that San Diego City Council President Tony Young has been selected as the new chief executive for the San Diego Imperial Counties Chapter. His departure from the Council means that a special election will be held within the next 90 days.
Although Young has long complained that council salaries are too low, his decision to take on the Red Cross job, which pays well into the six figure range, caught most observers by surprise. Local pundits are not even willing to speculate on potential candidates to replace Young, although conjecture by writers over at the UT-SD that his departure might somehow upset the partisan makeup of the City Council is simply not based in reality.
The 4th District seat represents southeast San Diego, an area of the city that has a long history of supporting Democratic candidates.
City Councilman Todd Gloria has privately expressed interest in replacing Young as City Council President. A vote on the leadership position at the Council could come as soon as December 3rd.
Teachers Union Recall Petitions Submitted
Members of the union reform caucus calling itself The Breakfast Club submitted petitions this morning calling for the recall of San Diego Teachers Association board member Dennis Schamp. According to an email sent out by the reformers yesterday, the petitioners believe they have met the signature threshold to successfully recall Schamp, but cannot be sure since SDEA refused to tell recall petition filers how many signatures were actually required. The Elections Committee will have ten calendar days to verify that enough signatures have been collected.
Petitions calling for the removal of SDEA President Bill Freeman and other board members SDEA President Bill Freeman were not submitted. Although the Breakfast Club claims that more people signed the recall petition than voted for Bill Freeman in either of the last two SDEA elections when he ran for President, the petitioners were not positive that they’d met the necessary threshold.
In light of claims by the group that hundreds of union members wouldn’t sign the petition only because they were afraid of what SDEA — their own union — would do to them if they did, the Breakfast Club elected not to turn in the paperwork on Foreman and the other board members.
The recall movement was sparked by anger at SDEA Board members who ran on a “No Layoffs, No Concessions” slate but then voted for concessions in talks with the School District. Members of the reform caucus are planning on fielding a slate in the upcoming March elections for six seats on the SDEA board, and hope to win a majority prior to the opening of contract negotiations next fall.
Imperial Beach Parents Oppose Parks and Rec Privatization Plan
IB Mayor Jim Janney told NBC7/News the deal will save the city $200,000 per year, which could be used for other city services. More than 800 children participate in little league baseball and fast-pitch softball games at city-owned fields at the Imperial Beach Sports Park and Rec Center free of charge, although the leagues spend more than $20,000 annually to help maintain the facilities.
Parents are concerned that they’ll have to pay membership fees to the YMCA along with charges for each program that their children participate in. The mayor says nothing has been finalized and any potential deal with the YMCA would have to allow for little league’s continued use of the fields.
The Y says they’re not the bad guys here, pointing out that they are simply talking after being approached by the city about the potential deal.
Eater San Diego: A New Foodie Site in Town
Long time food critic Candice Woo emerged from the interwebs yesterday as editor of Eater San Diego, part of a nationwide network of web sites that aim to report on where we eat and what goes on behind the scenes in the restaurant business. She promises to “show that America’s Finest is more than just fish tacos and flip flops.”
From her opening post:
My mission is to build this corner of the internet into a trusted and treasured resource for our community—a place for chefs to keep in touch with each other, restaurateurs to scope out their competition and people who just like to eat find out where the good food is. I’m looking forward to telling the stories of everyone on either side of the kitchen door, not only the creative types but also the unsung heroes that keep the wheels turning every step of the way.
News from SoreLoserstan : A picture that tells it all
Quote of the Day: “Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” – Mark Twain
On This Day: In 1952 In the Peanuts comic strip, Lucy first held a football for Charlie Brown. In 1959 the musical “The Sound of Music” opened. In 1969 the U.S. Army announced that several people had been charged with massacre and the subsequent cover-up in the My Lai massacre in Vietnam on March 16, 1968.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Fallbrook (102 S. Main, at Alvarado) 10 am – 2 pm, Imperial Beach (Seacoast Dr. at Pier Plaza) 2 – 7:30 pm, Kearny Mesa (No. Island Credit Union pkg lot 5898 Copley) 10:30 am – 1:30 pm, La Mesa Village (Corner of Spring St. and University) 2 – 6 pm, Rancho Bernardo (Bernardo Winery parking lot 13330 Paseo del Verano Norte) 9 am – noon, Southeast San Diego(4981 Market St. West of Euclid Ave. Trolley Station) 2 – 6 pm
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