Walmart v. Chicopee

In Chicopee, Massachusetts, more than 375 people showed up at a rally to protest Walmart's firing of a woman for her union activism. Aubretia Edick had worked at Walmart for 14 years. She worked as a cashier at the Chicopee store. “I was fired for speaking out,” she told the Valley Post on December 5.

A worker who answered the phone at the Chicopee Walmart declined a request to interview the store's manager about why he fired Edick. Chicopee borders Springfield.

Jon Weissman works for the group that organized the rally: www.jwj.org. Edick was fired in retaliation for her union activism, Weissman told the Valley Post on December 5. He said his organization is planning future actions to pressure Walmart to give Edick her job back.

Edick said, “Walmart is setting the standard for all businesses and it's not a good standard. Somebody has to stand up at some point. Every change for the better we've ever had in the world, someone had to stand up. For women's suffrage, women stood and picketed in front of the White House. I'm not standing by myself. There are a lot of other people standing with me.”

Nelson Lichtenstein is a history professor at the University of California and the author of a book about Walmart. “Walmart violates 80 years of established labor law when the company fires employees seeking to form a union,” he told the Valley Post. “Trumped up charges against their own employees do nothing to absolve Walmart of this legal responsibility.”

Workers who join a union in the USA make an average of 27 percent higher wages. That's according to www.bls.gov.

Non-union workers can be fired at any time for no reason. Most union contracts say that workers can only be fired for a good reason. If the boss and the worker disagree, a neutral third party decides.

Millions of workers in the USA are union members, including all the workers at UPS and Stop & Shop. Walmart workers do not have a union.

Walmart is owned by the richest family in the world, the Waltons. They pay the lowest wages in the world at the factories in China where most of the items they sell are made. In the USA, Walmart pays barely above minimum wage. Walmart employs more people than any other company in the USA.

Edick was fired November 21. The rally was November 28. Edick is known by the knickname Windy.

State senator James Welch of West Springfield attended the rally and said Walmart should re-hire Edick.

A second rally was held the same day at the Walmart in Hadley, Massachusetts.

The first photo shows Edick speaking with her boss at the Chicopee rally. Her hat says “Stand up, live better.” Walmart's slogan is “Save money, live better.” The second photo shows the Hadley rally. To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click “see full size image.” photos by www.jwj.org

Edick told the Valley Post, “If I get my job back I will continue speaking out.”

In related news, Gus Morales, a public school teacher in Holyoke who was fired for his union activism, won his job back November 24 following a rally to support him. Details are at:

www.valleypost.org/2014/09/11/education-rallies

Comments

Wal-Mart Fires Worker

More coverage of the fight against Walmart is at my web site: www.sprawl-busters.com.

Al Norman
Greenfield, Mass.

Al Norman's web site -- and

Al Norman's web site -- and his books about Walmart -- are excellent.

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