by Morgan Currier
University of Washington USAS
UW USAS cares about workers. And when we say workers, we mean ALL workers throughout supply chain. Remember our campaigns against sportswear apparel giants Russell Athletic and Nike? We’ve been there to stand up and call for change in the way multinational corporations treat workers throughout the supply chain. So when members of OUR Walmart and UFCW Local 21 were flyering at the National Conference of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), of course we were right there with them to remind the port authorities to stop their war on workers! The port authorities have been complying with Walmart’s abusive business model by not supporting living wage jobs on Seattle’s taxpayer-owned ports. Walmart and the port authorities have become the dream team for attacking workers in garment factories abroad, warehouse workers in the United States, truck drivers, and Walmart associates in stores.
At the action, we successfully leafleted over two hundred participants of the national conference as they arrived to their fancy shmancy reception dinner at the Seattle Aquarium. There was no escaping our pickets and chants as they stepped off their luxury buses and scurried into the aquarium. Many of them ran with their heads down while others screamed back, “down with the unions!” (gasp!)
The truth is, port authorities have the power to force Walmart subcontractors to do better for warehouse workers and truck drivers, and Walmart can certainly ensure workers in garment factories and in their stores are paid living wages.
Although Walmart’s war on workers continues, Walmart Associates, USAS student activists, and allies around the country aren’t slowing down because when workers are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!