Workers at a Walmart-contracted warehouse in Mira Loma, California, were planning a one-day strike on Thursday in response to ongoing unsafe working conditions and retaliation against their organizing to change those conditions. But when that announcement was met with still more retaliation against worker activists, the strike was moved up to Wednesday.
The workers, who do not have a recognized union, have been organizing to improve working conditions and wages (or at least to stop wage theft). In response, they've faced retaliation and firings, both of which are illegal as responses to concerted action by workers. While an October wave of strikes at first didn't draw as much retaliation as previous worker organizing, retaliation soon resumed, presumably as public attention died down. So the workers are beginning another round:
“Hopefully it will make a dent in their production…” said Raymond Castillo, “and it gets their attention, that we’re not playing around.” Castillo and other Mira Loma workers struck in September, and voted Sunday to do it again on Thursday. According to Castillo, workers started organizing because of unsafe and unsanitary conditions: crooked ramps caused serious injuries; workers’ drinking water came from a hose. The organizing brought retaliation, which inspired a strike, which drew more punishment. “Since we’ve all been retaliated against,” said Castillo, “it was a pretty easy decision for all of us to go back on strike.”