Local group supports Walmart workers protesting unfair labor practices
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, a local coalition of community, faith, and labor groups, said it was planning tovisit many local Walmart stores Wednesday in support of workers protesting unfair labor practices.
The coalition said it was working on the effort with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
The plan was for five to 30-member delegations to ask to see a Walmart store manager, then deliver a letter to the manager requesting that Walmart treat its workers with respect, said Russ Davis, executive director of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the official name of the huge Arkansas-based retailer, has about 50 stores in Massachusetts, according to its website.
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice said it expected to visit about 30 of those stores. It added that it had been issued a warning by Walmart’s attorneys --- that protesters could be arrested for trespassing. According to the coalition, the letter could have a “chilling effect” on those advocating for better wages and benefits for Walmart workers.
A Walmart spokesman responded: “This claim has no merit whatsoever. Those conducting legal activities need not fear arrest.”
As of 3:30 Wednesday afternoon, there were no reports of any arrests in Massachusetts Walmart stores, Davis said.
A recent story in The New York Times noted that protests against Walmart have expanded to about a dozen states. Some workers have described the protests as strikes, but Walmart claims they are publicity stunts.Chris Reidy can be reached at email@example.com.