Up | November 20, 2012
>>> this friday is black friday. the shopping phenomenon that seems to get bigger every year. for walmart , a big box retailer that helped start it. it can account for 40% of sales. black friday needs to go smoothly. a strike plan by walmart for black friday is potentially important. in the past, threats from workers have been largely empty. labor organizations tried to hold walmart accountable for it. workers fighting for better conditions and end to company retaliation against workers who speak up pulled off work stoppages around the country. retail workers walked out of 28 walmarts in 28 states. these actions are truly unprecedented and raised the stakes for black friday. walmart dismissed the strikes saying this is just another exaggerated campaign to mislead our customers and associations. they appear to be taking it very, very seriously. in mid-october, tom mars held a very rare meeting with three warehouse workers. friday, walmart asked the labor board for an injunction. they cite them responsible for the actions. it's the company's first legal action of months of unrest. the plan for black friday is seen as a threat by a company that's been impervious to hold them accountable. joining us is a walmart associate and helen the vice president of think tank and a member of warehouse workers united who works in a california warehouse, a walmart distribution center . walmart said they had no one available to join our conversation today.
>> can you tell me about the work you do? you are working in a warehouse. what does it look like, how much money do you make?
>> okay. thank you for having me on the show. the warehouse that i work at is in california. the work we do is like, it's hard work but it's doable work. the conditions, like the equipment is broken and the ramps are broken, which is very dangerous as well as not having water. we used to pay for our gloves and our masks and, you know, safety goggles , all our equipment. for the work we do, we lift heavy boxes and we from trailer to trailer. the weather out there, it goes up to like 120 degrees.
>> so, it's 120 degrees, a trailer that gets pulled into the warehouse center and your temperature there is 102 on the thermometer. there's stuff in the australtrailer and that's the work. you go in and carry it out?
>> yeah. we put it on a cart and pull the cart. the carts are normally, you know, broken, you know, like disassembled and all that. we pull the carts out and like another guy comes and takes the carts and loads it in the trailer.
>> how much money do you make? who are you working for directly?
>> i make $8 an hour and we work for work staff, which is a company, an agency that nfi hired, which is walmart hired nfi.
>> walmart hired a company that hires you. the temp agency hires you?
>> why did you get involved? what are your complaints? what do you want to see change in your workplace?
>> what i want to see changed is better opportunities to move up. of course a living wage . i have to work two jobs to support my family. to support and have a good, decent life. safety. like i don't -- i go to work and i don't know if i'm going to go home.
>> greg, you are an associate in a store.
>> i am. there are 1.6 million workers in stores, i think. i'm curious what your experience has been like?
>> my experience is that, you know, walmart has a motto. it's on the commercials, save money, live better. what we find in the stores, and my store throughout the country is they don't live up to that as far as how it reflects in the way they treat their workers. an example is the holiday, thanksgiving. we had that day off. now, they have that day open. i work 5:00 p.m . to 5:00 a.m . 5:00 p.m . thursday. that's my schedule. my wife from 3:00 to 12:00 . i have a 6-year-old and a 1-year-old, two sons. this is the second thanksgiving we are not going to have time with them. many families are like that. i have several workers in my store alone who talk about the grandparents of their children get to have these family experiences, but we don't. i would like to see more of family concerns for, you know, for them living up to that image they have of being a family store.
>> you and your wife both work for walmart ?
>> how possible is it to, i don't want to pry into your personal finances, but how possible is it to have a middle class life?
>> um, we really can't. that's the honest truth. you know, a lot of times, going on vacations or trips is more with the larger family, expenses shared. on your own, working at walmart for the largest retailer in the world, we can't do that. it's just not right.
>> you guys are both here on national television. we have your names on the screen. i wonder if you worry about walmart taking action against you in retaliation for having these -- getting involved in organizations?
>> i'm not afraid. i'm not afraid. i'll sit right here, i will be striking, for sure. the reason why is for me personally. this is my third time i striked. the people at our store outside los angeles , i have been to home office twice. we know our rights. we know this is something we have the right to do. we are morally and idealistically correct in doing so.
>> the realuation we get against is is like, what can they do more? cut our hours? i made $29 on one check. they cut my hours dramatically.
>> do you think they have done that because you are involved?
>> yes. it's the main reason why. we went on strike before. so, you know, they didn't fire us, but they cut all our hours. we are working one day, sometimes a half day.
>> i have an associate that was fired unlawfully.
>> hold that thought. more on this when we get back. fer's starts with ground beef, unions, and peppers baked in a ketchup glaze with savory gravy and mashed russet potatoes. what makes stouffer's meatloaf best