Los Angeles Wal-Mart employees raise concerns over retaliation

In California, workers have the right to be treated fairly and feel safe on the job. Chief among these rights is the need for all workers to be compensated adequately for the work they perform, which is mandated and defined by state and federal law. These employee laws require that employers pay minimum wages, at the very least, for the amount of time that employees actually work.

In a recent blog post, a strike organized by local warehouse workers was discussed. In this case, workers who package goods for distribution to Wal-Mart locations visited stores around the country to voice their concerns. These workers complained of unsafe working conditions and a lack of proper pay.

Now, in Los Angeles, Wal-Mart’s own workers have recently gone on strike for similar complaints. The strike lasted one day — employees returned to work the next day. While these workers are not protected by a union, they still felt it was important for them to voice their complaints. According to the workers, they have seen retaliation from Wal-Mart for speaking up about compensation and safety issues. Furthermore, some have claimed they have seen reduced hours after talking with labor relations representatives.

These workers were joined by a number of international Wal-Mart workers. These international workers were holding a conference on the same day as the strike in Los Angeles. They were discussing ways to improve working conditions at Wal-Marts abroad.

In California, as long as employers are paying minimum wage, in most situations, employees are not entitled to more money if the employer refuses to provide a raise. However, workers are protected from retaliation after they complain about working conditions. Employees have the right to make sure they are safe and to ensure their employers are responsive to their needs. If an employee faces retaliation, that employee may have a right to compensation for the unfair treatment.

Source: Press TV, “Walmart LA workers walk off job in first-ever strike,” Oct. 5, 2012

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