By Josh Greenlee, Local 1059, Summer for Respect Action Project, Los Angeles
Wednesday morning we met Jerry, and a group of reps at the Local 1428 office and headed to a Food 4 Less store to petition customers and hand out flyers. Local 1428 members are in negotiations with Food 4 Less. Handing out flyers was a great way to raise awareness with the local community and increase support for workers. I have never seen a community so willing to interact with and help workers. It was a huge success. After we finished at Food 4 Less we headed to our first Walmart store visit.
At Walmart we had two main goals. The first was a sick days petition to convince Wal-Mart to make a change in their sick days policy. The second is signing workers up for OUR Walmart. Walmart makes it very difficult for us to speak to Walmart workers – we had to stay outside of the store in the parking lot. In spite of this, I met some great associates throughout the day. One of them even signed up for OUR Walmart.
On Thursday morning we met Jerry and headed to our first home call. We met with a worker from Sam’s Club that is a member of OUR Walmart. She was very passionate about workers’ rights, and her fellow associates. We spoke with her for a couple hours, and learned a lot about her struggles working at Sam’s Club. She circulated the sick days petition at her store, and had it full of signatures. Once the home call was over we went to prepare for the OUR Walmart leadership meeting set for that evening. Jerry gave Joe, and I speaking parts. It was amazing to meet all of these leaders from the different Walmart stores and hear their struggles. Everyone one of them are leaders in their stores and firmly believe in the making life better for their friends and coworkers.
On Friday morning, clad in their green, several OUR Walmart members joined us for a picket line at the ports. Thousands of Port truck drivers around the country work long hours at low pay with little to no benefits. Helping them speak out for a better life was a great experience. The eight hour picket was successful and fun. We came up with chants, played music, and danced. The OUR Walmart members were just as excited for this fight as they are for their own. It was the perfect way to end an exciting first week. I’m already looking forward to next week.