“On the store level, people have won all kinds of victories,” said Dan Schlademan, a campaign director for the United Food and Commercial Workers, one of the main union backers of the movement, rattling off a list: “getting writeups taken away, terminations undone, wages fixed.”OUR Walmart activists may be a long way from changing Walmart's corporate practices, but small victories at the store level show other workers that there's strength in numbers and that speaking up for themselves can yield benefits. And while it's true that the number of workers who have gone on strike or otherwise protested publicly remains tiny compared with Walmart's giant workforce, the company is facing pressure not just from these retail workers but throughout its supply chain, including workers in its warehouses and at suppliers, as well as public pressure over its use of unsafe garment factories in Bangladesh and customer discontent thanks to understaffed stores and understocked shelves. A company with the size, money, and power of Walmart won't be changed quickly or easily. But the pressure on it is building and proliferating, and that's the only way there's a chance it will change.
More broadly, he added, the movement is educating people that they have rights. [...]
[A Walmart spokesman] said Walmart has brought about initiatives to provide its workers with the additional hours they’ve demanded, such as a pilot program that allows workers to request vacant shifts in other sections of their stores. Walmart plans to roll out the program across the country by the end of October.
According to Schlademan, however, the program was only introduced after workers at a Maryland store successfully pressured their manager to introduce those practices. “There were petitions and demonstrations and delegations to the manager,” he said.
Worker activists are outnumbered at Walmart's annual shareholder meeting by workers Walmart has flown in to have a lavish experience complete with celebrity performances while letting shareholders know how happy they are. But the activists and their protests aren't going away, and they say that despite the retaliation many face for speaking out, they're also having an impact:
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