The strikes on Tuesday were just the second time in more than a half century that Walmart workers walked off the job at multiple stores, and comes on the heels of strikes at nine Walmart stores in Los Angeles. Those followed a 21-day action put on by Chicago-area Walmart warehouse workers, whose strike recently ended after their employer agreed to a major settlement over allegations of wage theft.
In the wake of these two strikes and the ripple-effect being felt across the company, it suddenly looks like a whole new ballgame for organized labor.
One of the problems striking workers cite is the lack of access to full-time working hours, which prevents them from obtaining even the meager health benefits the company offers. The National Consumer’s League (NCL) told Raw Story that Walmart’s refusal to provide those benefits by exploiting part-time labor leads to a number of spillover costs that taxpayers ultimately pick up.
“Many Walmart workers are dependent on public assistance programs due to their low wages and not having access to full time jobs and being denied benefits because they’re not working the number of hours required to get access to those benefits, or the benefits are just so expensive that on their low wages they just can’t afford them,” NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg said in an exclusive interview. “Walmart has a record of even working with employees to sign them up for public assistance programs, which we think is really atrocious.”