It's not just Walmart's in-store workers who are demanding better pay. Up and down the Walmart supply chain workers are fighting back. Today, truck drivers who transport goods from the Port of Los Angeles to the Costco, Forever 21 and the retail behemoth's stores are staging a surprise strike.
Truck driver Jose Galindo told Salon's Josh Eidelson he's considered an independent contractor, which is a convenient classification which forces him to foot the cost for even work basics and allows his employers to pay him less:
"Like employees, they tell us where to go - we can't negotiate on many things," said Galindo. But "we pay for gas, tires, maintenance" out of pocket, "even though the truck is not ours." Lacking minimum-wage protection, he added, "Sometimes I can be stuck at the ports for three or four hours" waiting in line, "and the company doesn't pay us for the time." Galindo told Salon that after he ripped a shoulder tendon while working on the landing gears of his truck, his disability payments were cut off early because the company told the government he was a contractor.
Walmart truck drivers, warehouse workers, and store workers have been organizing very public actions the last two years, including strikes, protests and civil disobedience to demand better wages and an end to the worker retaliation which has followed those who speak out. More are planned as the holiday shopping season heats up.