Javier Rodriguez worked as a forklift driver inside a critical Walmart-contracted warehouse in Southern California until he was fired yesterday. (Information for reporters.)
Javier and his coworkers labor moving Walmart merchandise for low wages. Most warehouse workers are temporary employees with no benefits, no guaranteed hours and no sick days. They often encounter pollutants, high temperatures, little ventilation and intense retaliation if they complain about the conditions. Serious injuries on the job are common.
Last fall, Javier and his coworkers went on strike to protest retaliation they experienced when speaking up about unsafe working conditions. They launched a 50-mile pilgrimage from the dusty shadows of Southern California’s Inland Empire to Downtown Los Angeles.
After dismissing workers’ claims about unsafe working conditions in the fall, Walmart told the Wall Street Journal it would step up monitoring of its domestic warehouses. Workers have seen no changes and now one of the most outspoken leaders has been fired.
Update – April 29
When warehouse workers and supporters arrived with the media to deliver thousands of petition signatures, Walmart locked the doors. Luckily one of the building tenants delivered the petition personally.
Glinda Anderson says
This is making a new type of slave labor. A third world country, and inhuman society. Thanks Walmart for the memories. I won’t shop there…I find more folks not wanting to go there for theses reasons. Making a few names scapegoats by firing them is not going to keep your stores alive.