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View Diary: Walmart warehouse workers strike in response to retaliation. And Black Friday is coming. (92 comments)

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  •  Wait a second (6+ / 0-)

    a) The workers are NOT Walmart employees:

    On paper, Castillo and his co-workers are employed by a Walmart subcontractor, Warestaff. But because Walmart is the beneficiary of all of his work, and the boss of his boss’ boss, Castillo says his conditions are all Walmart’s fault. Walmart does not agree.
    "On paper"??  They're NOT Walmart employees.

    b) The warehouse is NOT a Walmart warehouse:

    Workers at a Walmart-contracted warehouse in Mira Loma, California...
    So, these are not Walmart workers, who are not working in a Walmart warehouse, though they are handling Walmart goods and shipments.

    This is what 3rd party logistics is all about - avoiding the costs of both real estate (warehouse / storage / material moving equipment / supply chain management IT infrastructure) and labor.

    I hate Walmart, and thoroughly and completely support organized labor, but this is not a Walmart problem.  Every big retail company in the country, both unionized and not, uses 3PL logistics in their supply chain management strategy.

    "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

    by Richard Cranium on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:12:37 AM PST

    •  But Walmart (15+ / 0-)

      Does tell the Warehouse how to move, when to move, how much to pay, etc.  Walmart even has an office in the warehouse.  The shell game of warehouse operators and staffing companies is the way Walmart avoids responsibility for these workers.  And Walmart is a big enough player that if its says jump to the warehouse operators , they say "how high?!?"  Its time for Walmart to start taking responsibility for these workers.

      •  Balderdash (0+ / 0-)
        Does tell the Warehouse how to move, when to move, how much to pay, etc.
        What the warehouse operator does is contract to Walmart that they'll manage x-amount of warehouse square footage and move goods at x-amount of turnaround time for x-amount of dollars.  Walmart does not give a shit about how much the warehouse operator pays its employees, nor the working conditions - legally, Walmart is not responsible for either.  Walmart has an office in the warehouse?  So what??  A lot of companies have leased space in the contracted facilities that they utilize.

        Again, though I sympathize with the workers, this is NOT a Walmart problem.

        "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

        by Richard Cranium on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:24:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In many cases, (14+ / 0-)

          the warehouses we're talking about handle only Walmart goods.

          •  It does not matter, Laura (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CuriousBoston

            Again, while I sympathize with the workers, Walmart has no legal responsibility for their pay, benefits, working conditions, or working environment.  Could Walmart lean on the warehouse operator and improve these worker issues?  

            Probably, but they won't.  They're just interested in keeping their logistics costs as low as they can contractually negotiate.  This is no different than Home Depot, Trader Joe's, Target, Sears, Whole Foods, etc.  In the logistics world, none of the "brand" companies move or store their own goods anymore.

            "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

            by Richard Cranium on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:33:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh bullshit, Richard. They might not have the (7+ / 0-)

              "legal" right to do anything, but they sure as hell do have the actual right - because they have the ability.  If Walmart says - we'll only contract with you if you provide your workers with a safe place to work and a living wage - guess what?  They'd be provided a safe place to work and a living wage.

              Instead, Walmart says - give it to us cheaper - no, cheaper - no, cheaper.  Don't care how you do it, but we want it cheaper.

              Walmart has virtually no defense in this.

              "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

              by gustynpip on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:33:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I acknowledged Walmart could lean on the operator (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                superscalar, CuriousBoston

                No question about it.  They could, but they won't.  Here's why:

                You say:

                Instead, Walmart says - give it to us cheaper - no, cheaper - no, cheaper.  Don't care how you do it, but we want it cheaper.
                I disagree - it's the consumer - the consumer - who says, and accepts, "give it to us cheaper - no cheaper - no, cheaper.  I don't care how you do it, but we want it cheaper."  

                Walmart responds to the market.  

                I'm not defending Walmart, their corporate employment practices, their contracting practices, their disdain for organized labor, or their marketing practices.  All I'm trying to get across in this entire thread of comments is that ultimately, Walmart can be painted as the bad guy I suppose (and it's not like they're not an easy target), but the issue posed by this diary is NOT Walmart's legal responsibility to resolve.  We could argue all day about whether it's their moral and ethical responsibility to intervene, but the workers who are the topic of this diary are not Walmart employees.

                "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

                by Richard Cranium on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 11:07:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Bingo, The American 'Consumer' (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Richard Cranium

                  Walmart responds to the market

                  Has wanted it 'cheap' for a long time, it's only been recently that they've been interested in how it came to be so 'cheap' to begin with.

                  I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

                  by superscalar on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 11:08:57 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  And that's exactly what we're doing. Arguing (0+ / 0-)

                  about whether it's their moral and ethical obligation.  We all know they don't have a legal obligation.  So what?

                  Yes, consumers want things cheap.  Always have, always will.  And businesses will always  want to maximize their profit.

                  The question is, who has the POWER to end some of the egregious violations of workers' rights?  It's not the consumers.  If I'm willing to pay higher prices, I don't get that option.  Even if I voluntary money to Walmart in the hope they'll give it to the workers, it's not going to happen.

                  Walmart, however, does have the power.  They can say - okay, we'll accept that we might not make quite as much in profit  in order to make sure the workers are treated well. ' Or we might lose a little business if our products are a few cents more than K-marts.

                  But They've been the ones that have pushed and pushed for cheaper and cheaper and cheaper.  They've driven companies out of business, they've driven down wages and benefits.  Other companies have been forced to join in, just to stay viable.  The responsibility for much of the current situation belongs squarely on their shoulders.

                  I quit shopping at Walmart long ago.  But that doesn't, in reality, do anything.  If Walmart, however, threatened to quit using their contractors, it would make an immediate, huge difference.

                  "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                  by gustynpip on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 01:03:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The freaking consumers (0+ / 0-)

                  Are also making Walmart wages. Of course they demand cheaper.  It is the vicious cycle writ large.

    •  That is why ALL Warehouse Workers need a union! (10+ / 0-)

      Proud to be part of the 21st Century Democratic Majority Party of the 3M's.. Multiracial,Multigender and MiddleClass

      by LOrion on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:24:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davelf2, Joe Bob, elwior, gustynpip

      The warehouse building IS owned by Walmart

      The warehouse operator is EXCLUSIVE to Walmart - they don't do ANY OTHER handling

      It LITERALLY is 'on paper' only that the operation is not a Walmart operation

      "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

      by josephk on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:01:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most of the people who work at Microsoft (3+ / 0-)

      in Bellevue, Washington do not work FOR Microsoft.

      They all work for companies who contract with Microsoft.

      Whether they get any benefits is entirely up to the companies that employ them.  

      And, speaking as someone who worked for the company that handled the mail delivery system, you earn minimum wage and would get NO benefits.

      The company I worked for decided to make most of their employees get their own business licenses and buy their own vehicle so they could become contractors themselves which allowed the Company to forego paying any share of taxes like SS, Medicare, L&I, and unemployment insurance.

      There are a lot of sleasy companies out there.  Workers need to learn how to unionize. The Republicans have worked to destroy unions since WWII.

      •  No, and Microsoft is in Redmond, Washington (0+ / 0-)

        unless you are talking about Bell Square, which was in Bellevue.

        http://seattletimes.com/...

        It is close but the count includes people who work for landscaping, food service and moving companies who are what I consider "real" service companies who serve other businesses.   There are a lot of professional temp workers, though ("permatemps".)

        •  Sorry, I am so old that I remember when the land (0+ / 0-)

          the Microsoft Campus as a huge empty field considered to be part of Bellevue before Microsoft existed and  the area was incorporated into Redmond.

          I lived in Kirkland so I did not even know that the land that Microsoft is on was in unincorporated King County (always thought it was part of Bellevue) until it was taken over by Redmond because they wanted the tax base.

          And, I really don't like the term "permatemps" as it suggests that there is something temporary about the jobs.

          I worked for a courier service full-time.  There was NOTHING temporary about my job.  The courier service contracted to Microsoft for their services.  The secretaries, receptionists, janitors and most other jobs at Microsoft are done by full-time employees of contracting companies.  If you have any sort of benefits, it is up to the contracting company not Microsoft.

          Bill Gates might be a billionaire philanthropist (like Carnegie who built edifices to his greatness and gave absolutely nothing to his employees) but he is a typical greedy b***d  in my view.

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