IBEW 1245 members Justin Casey (Davey Tree) and Cruz Serna (PG&E) joined a caravan of buses that converged on Betonville, Ark. for a week of worker actions that culminated at Walmart’s annual Shareholder’s meeting on June 7.
They participated in trainings, planning sessions and actions alongside 300 Walmart strikers, organizers and volunteers from the Our Walmart Campaign. They were joined by Local 1245 staff members Jennifer Gray and Lloyd Cargo.
Ignoring a court-issued restraining order, striking employees and their supporters showed up at the shareholders’ meeting to decry low wages and call for better safety procedures for supply-chain workers.
The protest at the shareholders’ meeting was the first stage of an effort to expand organizing efforts at two Walmart stores in the Sacramento and Fresno markets. By assisting these actions, IBEW 1245 seeks to sharpen our organizing capacity while contributing to the labor movement’s on-going effort to stop the “Walmartization” of the US economy.
Eleven Local 1245 members have signed up to participate.
On June 17, the IBEW 1245 members met at UCFW Local 8 in Roseville for an initial training with regional OUR Walmart campaign organizers and with IBEW 1245 organizers Fred Ross Jr., Jennifer Gray, and Eileen Purcell. IBEW 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell joined the group in the afternoon.
IBEW 1245’s effort in the Sacramento area will be led by Justin Casey and Jammi Juarez. They will be joined by Eric Sunderland, Kevin Krummes, Rene Cruz- Martinez and Ean Charles.
Cruz Cerna and Georgette Carillo will lead the Fresno area team. They will be joined by Guadalupe Flores, Jose Rey Mendoza and Valdemar Guzman.
The teams are working to make contact with Walmart Associates through house calls and store visits to engage and recruit them to become active members of OUR Walmart.
OUR Walmart (the Organization United for Respect at Walmart) is a worker-led organization working to ensure that all Walmart employees are treated with respect, and to get Walmart to publicly commit to improving labor rights and standards. OUR Walmart is not a union that seeks to represent Walmart employees.
IBEW 1245 member organizers are coordinating group events and meetings for Walmart Associates so that these workers can learn more about the OUR Walmart campaign and come together to demand change in the workplace and a stop to retaliation. Other strategies include reaching out to community allies to build the campaign as well as to offer support to Walmart Associates.
The recruitment and mobilization of these workers will lead up to national actions on Labor Day and Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving).
CBS recently reported that Walmart CEO Mike Duke made $20.7 million last year. That’s more than 1,000 times what the average Walmart associate makes.