March 27, 2013

Erica Smiley

Erica Smiley

Walmart Attempts to Silence Protests with Lawsuit

Photo: OUR Walmart / Flickr
Photo: OUR Walmart / Flickr

Earlier this week, Walmart filed a lawsuit against OUR Walmart and Central Florida Jobs with Justice in Orlando.  The lawsuit aims to limit workers and community leaders from “trespassing” at Florida stores.

This lawsuit looks to be another meritless attempt by Walmart to silence workers and their community supporters rather than hear our concerns about the company’s treatment of workers.

“[Walmart] apparently wants a Florida judge to issue a statewide injunction prohibiting OUR Walmart members and their supporters, like me, from speaking out to improve working conditions,” said Denise Diaz, executive director of Central Florida Jobs with Justice.

In Florida, when associates have spoken out for good jobs, Walmart managers have reacted in an extreme manner – even calling the police and harassing associates.

With $16 billion in annual profits, Walmart can afford to create good jobs for workers at its stores.  But instead of creating good jobs with steady hours and affordable healthcare, Walmart is focusing its energies on infringing on freedom of speech.

After a community hearing organized by the Retail Justice Alliance and the Chicago Workers’ Rights Board, long-time labor activist and commentator Bill Fletcher said, “whether it’s a lawsuit, a cover-up or outright threats to their employees, Walmart has demonstrated time and again that they will do anything to squash the first amendment rights of workers and other community leaders who speak out for basic respect and dignity.”

The members of OUR Walmart are undeterred: “Walmart’s legal games will not stop OUR Walmart and our supporters in calling for a change of course at Walmart.”

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