By Chris Overcash, North Carolina Green Party
On Black Friday, considered the biggest shopping day of the year, fellow coworkers and I went on a one day strike/walkout to demand better from Walmart. Demands included: the correct amount of equipment to work with, a responsive human resources department to address problems in the store, a new policy that would address COVID-19 outbreaks in the store, and the right to form or join a union without interference from corporate.
Months of frustration and being faced with constant issues in the store without any attempts at resolution led to coworkers and I organizing with the help from members of the North Carolina Green Party, The Party for Socialism and Liberation, and North Carolina RaiseUP. For a while, we planned on standing up and fighting back. At first, a good comrade of mine Matthew Skolar brought up the idea of a worker-led march to the Walmart with speakers to let their demands be heard. But eventually we got in contact with NC RaiseUP and began to talk, and from there the idea of a strike/walkout came up.
As workers the most powerful thing we have, other than a union, is to withhold our labor from the capitalist. This is such a powerful way to stand up and say we’re not going to be complacent anymore.
Places like Walmart only work because we work and things are only held up because we hold them up. It’s not the higher-ups that clock into these stores every day, stocking the shelves or check out customers up front and take care of grocery orders – it’s us who do that. We work every day, we do our jobs, we make sure everything is getting done, but the rich only reward us by giving us pizza parties at work and pointless rewards that none of us care about. What we care about is how affordable benefits are going to be, how we are going to make enough to pay our rent or food on our tables for our families and get the essentials we need to live.
I would like to close by saying, if you are experiencing injustice in your place of work, organize and fight back, because that is all we have. Talk to your coworkers, learn their struggles, find out how you can help each other, and when the time is right and y’all feel like you have organized enough to strike back and strike hard – do it. Talk to your coworkers about forming or joining a union, because at the end of the day, if we don’t have a seat at the bargaining table we will be left out in the cold to beg.
And remember that organizing is your right no matter where you are. We have that power to dismantle injustice at work and it’s important that we do just that. Now is a time for labor organizing. It’s time we educate, agitate, and organize while also standing in solidarity with others around the country and the world who are all fighting the good fight. An injury to one is an injury to all!