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NEWS: Union Organizer Fired by WalMart Goes on Hunger Strike.

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posted on Mar, 12 2005 @ 11:13 PM
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A man named Ryszard Tomtas once involved with Poland's Solidarity Movement has gone on a hunger strike in response to being fired by a Colorado WalMart Distribution Center He alleges he was let go because he tried to organize a union. WalMart alleges he was fired because of 'Horseplay.' The man says he will not eat, and will drink nothing but water. WalMart has received criticism for their anti-union stance in the past.
 



www.thedenverchannel.com
The married father of a young son said he will drink only water until he gets some "positive impact" from Wal-Mart. He said he can't get unemployment because he was fired. Tomtas said that he has contacted the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to a file wrongful termination complaint against the company.

He was suspended on Feb. 25 for horseplay with a co-worker and then called Tuesday to say that he had been fired.

Tomtas claims he was fired because he signed a union card and the union notified Wal-Mart he would try to organize a union at the center, a charge which Wal-Mart denied in a written statement.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


WalMart has been under some pressure to allow employee unions, particularly in Canada. The company has so far resisted pressure, and it will be interesting to see how they react to this man's protest. The fact that their failure to act could doom this man to malnutrition or death (if he carries through) adds additional importance to their decision.

The idea of a union is a good one, but of course there are downsides, especially in the area of profit and efficiency. The companies involved must negotiate contracts, deal with the threat of strikes, and generally end up paying their employees more than they otherwise would.

The power of the Unions has waned signifigantly in the last couple of decades, and there's probably little hope for a reversal of fortunes. The heyday of Union power is long gone, and corporations hold all the cards these days. I doubt if WalMart will give in to this man, and so it will come down to his determination. I wonder if he'll actually die to prove his point?

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posted on Mar, 13 2005 @ 02:35 AM
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I really feel hunger strikes are self defeating..... must be better ways then to kill yourself or make yourself very ill to get a point across.



posted on Mar, 13 2005 @ 02:42 AM
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I don't know..it worked for Ghandi. Sort of.

If the person is really willing to go through with it, the PR alone could lose WalMart billions of dollars. Imagine all the boycots that could result?

I'm sure Jesse Jackson will show up any day now...



posted on Mar, 13 2005 @ 07:19 AM
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WO - if you really think the time is past - this could be the last gasp of non-violent civil action. ...What other avenues are available to force change?


.



posted on Mar, 13 2005 @ 07:38 AM
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As far as WalMart is concerned, just don't shop there. Don't work there. Don't condone their refusal to unionize tacitly through apathy. Other than that there's nothing we really can do.

I think if people just took more responsibility, the stores would disappear or shape up in a matter of a year or so. They have enough overhead, and enough inventory, a sharp drop in sales would seriously threaten their liquidity, and would force a huge cash investment on the part of the family that owns the business. That sort of strategy would be abandoned also as soon as it became aparent the American people were serious. It doesn't make sense to flush money down a toilet no matter how rich you are, so I think the execs would cave in and allow unions.

Of course, this is only possible if people give a damn. Judging by the number of replies received, I'd say few people care enough even to type a few words, nevermind boycott the place or organize a hunger strike of their own. Most people only care that they can save a few dollars by shopping at WalMart, and that's the bottom line. The conditions facing the workers don't matter to the average shopper, their response, justifiably, is "if you don't like it, quit." That's exactly what people should do.

One of the main reasons WalMart doesn't want to allow unions, is because then they would forced to adequately staff their enormous stores. I've known people who worked at WalMart, and actually ran several departments at the same time, running back and forth for hours at a time, sometimes between 3 or 4 counters. They couldn't do this with a union, unions demand job descriptions, and strict separation between duties. WalMart continually hires illegals and screws its employees on overtime too, more cause for union anger. WalMart can't unionize, and if we make it so they can't NOT unionize, they'll lose lots and lots of money. The more money THEY lose, the more relative the situation becomes.

If you can't make a dollar to add to your war chest, take a dollar from your enemy or prevent him from making one. It serves the same end.



posted on Mar, 13 2005 @ 08:03 AM
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Soficrow says:

"WO - if you really think the time is past - this could be the last gasp of non-violent civil action. ...What other avenues are available to force change?"

I don't think that, just because unions have lost most of their power, we are seeing the last gasp on nonvoiolent action. Actually, unions have been (and I have been in three unions, one as a steward) as violent in pursuit of their agenda as management has been.

I do agree that the era of collective bargaining is pretty much over in most of the United States. Part of it is because there are more people for jobs right now, and there's always someone willing to work at a jobwithout a union or similar organization.

The other part, I think is that more and more people want to and are willingto look after themself in their negotiations with their employer.

If a person has the necessary skills and training, he will be valuable enough to the hiring companies so that he will have a say inhis future.

If he doesn't have the skills and education to be able to look after himself, looking for a union to take care of him won't help; the jobs will either be done by ilegales or outsourced to South Elbonia.



posted on Mar, 13 2005 @ 11:49 AM
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I actaully worked for wal-mart about 5 years ago. I was there when the management changed from a concened eployeer, to a double-speeking money grabber. They are masters of using guilt and bribes (2 "way to go" pins and you get a share of stock) to keep you working for next to nothing. Then there is the brainwashing "wal-mart cheer" to make you conform like the monkies you are

Last time I shopped there i felt like a red-neck as soon as a walked in.

For some people it is a conveniance store. Kind of like the General store in mining towns.. really no where else to go to get stuff at good prices.

The US anti-union busting laws have become so watered down now in the last twenty years that things like this were bound to happen.



posted on Mar, 13 2005 @ 01:57 PM
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If he was any kind of protester, at all, he would set himself on fire in front of the corporate headquarters. Like, I mean, hunger strikes are so last year. What's a gallon of gasoline and a Bic cost these days? Five bucks? Anyone who keeps up with current events knows that self-immolation is the only way to make a statement anymore.



posted on Mar, 13 2005 @ 02:26 PM
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Grady
LOL You are so right. But..come clean man. Admit your bias. You just have a thing for yahoos that set themselves alight, c'mon, you know it's true. I admit my bias. I think it's funny when people set themselves on fire and run around and scream. It seems like a punishment befitting the severity of their stupidity. There are exceptions, like when men do it stoically and with grace. There's only been 8 of those instances, as far as I know. The vast majority of people who set themselves on fire are neither noble, nor wise. They're yahoos, and God put them on this earth to serve as a terrible example for the rest of us. LOL

Hunger strikes are very similar, but there's less running around, less screaming. Hunger strikes are mostly all sunken eyes and pronounced ribs, there's not a whole lot of humor to be had from that sort of video. It reminds me too much of concentration camps. Uncomfortable. I think that's exactly the image this man should prevent. He should say with pictures "look at what WalMart has done to me." Of course, he did it to himself, but we'll never tell.



posted on Mar, 13 2005 @ 02:41 PM
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Actually, my bias is for Wal-Mart. There are enough alternatives to Wal-Mart that those who choose to work or shop elsewhere can. I love Wal-Mart because they do what all business should--offer good quality products at a competitive price. This really is the only reason Wal-Mart is successful. They give the buying public what they want.



posted on Mar, 13 2005 @ 09:52 PM
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you think a multi-billion dollar company could do a better job with it's employees. Since when did low prices have to also mean underpaid employees when your taxes are paying for thier health care?

I know lots of people who do not shop there but they are still providing health care to the employees with Taxes



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 03:10 AM
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Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
I love Wal-Mart because they do what all business should--offer good quality products at a competitive price.


And if I could offer you plastic dining chairs and tiki torches for prices 20% lower than even WalMart could match, and I accomplished this stunning feat by using backyard prison (slave) labor, would you still shop at my boutique and tell all your friends about my spectacular bargains? If I stole my neighbors television, and offered to sell it to you at 50% off, would you still not care where I got it from. You either do or you don't, situational ignorance of production methods is a weak excuse.

I also don't think WalMart has 'good quality' products, but that's entirely a matter of opinion, the companies they buy from use inferior materials and short-cut processes to reduce wholesale prices, the rest is accomplished by buying/selling in tremendous bulk. One of the first areas to go is quality control, because if one of two out of 100 products proves defective for a normal company they suffer financially, WalMart can sell 25 defective products in a hundred and still come away with solid profit. Their customers are more likely to re-buy the broken item than try to have it fixed or get the company responsible for the cheap product to replace it free of charge.


Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
This really is the only reason Wal-Mart is successful. They give the buying public what they want.


What the buying public wants, really wants, is to never have to work, to have unprotected sex, to eat fine food and drink fine wine, to travel to the stars and explore the higher consciousness of the human mind. Cheap products and giant stores, staffed by sullen retirees and pimple faced kids, those are necessary evils endured by a population long accustomed to eating whatever is fed to them..IMO.



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 04:35 AM
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Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
Actually, my bias is for Wal-Mart. There are enough alternatives to Wal-Mart that those who choose to work or shop elsewhere can. I love Wal-Mart because they do what all business should--offer good quality products at a competitive price. This really is the only reason Wal-Mart is successful. They give the buying public what they want.


Holy #ing # but somebody gets it. Give this man a cigar and a kewpie doll folks.
This is the reason walmart is one of the biggest successes in american business today.
As for unions, well I frankly never saw the point, I am from floridqa a "right to work" state and I never had a problem gettting a good job and didnt have to pay some fat ass union boss for the privalege of being able to work either.
Grady you got a way above from me.


[edit on 14-3-2005 by mwm1331]



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 06:50 AM
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The only thing I find useful about WalMart is that it's a great place to play hide and seek. Thins went downhill after Sam died.



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 07:24 AM
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Originally posted by WyrdeOne

And if I could offer you plastic dining chairs and tiki torches for prices 20% lower than even WalMart could match, and I accomplished this stunning feat by using backyard prison (slave) labor, would you still shop at my boutique and tell all your friends about my spectacular bargains? If I stole my neighbors television, and offered to sell it to you at 50% off, would you still not care where I got it from. You either do or you don't, situational ignorance of production methods is a weak excuse.



Really??

What are your prices on the neighbour's Plasma screen?

What do you charge for shipping it to Aus?





What the buying public wants, really wants, is to never have to work, to have unprotected sex, to eat fine food and drink fine wine, to travel to the stars and explore the higher consciousness of the human mind. Cheap products and giant stores, staffed by sullen retirees and pimple faced kids, those are necessary evils endured by a population long accustomed to eating whatever is fed to them..IMO.


Actually, i would settle for cheap products.

Though, i prefer them to be staffed by Jennifer Hawkin lookalikes.



posted on Jan, 23 2006 @ 05:11 PM
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So did this guy die, or give up?

I hate how these stories just disappear. I feel so unfulfilled without some form of resolution.

Has anyone heard anything about this story recently?



posted on Jan, 23 2006 @ 05:17 PM
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Guess this is one of the reasons Wallmart is non existant over here.

The moment a company becomes larger then (I think) 50 employees, full protection for union reps and mandatory union presence is required.

Alot of companies try to pospone this from happening by creating smaller independant companies that are owned by the same shareholders, but this usualy costs them more then just going with a union presence.

For wallmart this would mean that each and every wallmart store they open has to be an independant company with independant books and independant registry with a different name, else they they are still considered as the same company and a union presence will still be required.



posted on Jan, 23 2006 @ 05:49 PM
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thematrix
Are you talking about Canada, or the UK, or Maryland, or what?


I know there are a few places that have resisted the encroachment of the big boxes.



posted on Jan, 23 2006 @ 05:58 PM
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The workers at walmart must be insane to not attempt to organize and unionize. If they can't work collectively to get this, then they don't deserve it. If this guy's attempts don't work, they really need to organize themselves underground and initiate slow-downs and strikes.


Originally posted by WyrdeOne
If the person is really willing to go through with it, the PR alone could lose WalMart billions of dollars. Imagine all the boycots that could result?

Indeed, walmart has far more to loose from images of this guy all emaciated and whatnot than the british empire did with ghandi.



posted on Jan, 23 2006 @ 06:07 PM
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The workers at walmart must be insane to not attempt to organize and unionize. If they can't work collectively to get this, then they don't deserve it. If this guy's attempts don't work, they really need to organize themselves underground and initiate slow-downs and strikes.


I agree with you in principle, but I have an insight on the situation that may put things more in perspective. I was just thinking about the folks I know who work/have worked at Wallmart.

Food stamps, parole, questionable immigration status - all these things (I'm betting) are common amongst WallMart employees (and fast food also), and any one of them makes a person unlikely to question the boss.

If you're on parole or food stamps or immigration watch, having a disagreement with your boss can have HUGE consequences. Especially if you have kids. It seems like a lot of the people employed are not capable of mounting a serious legal challenge, and many are afraid because of the possible consequences.

I'm just trying to throw out some ideas as to why the employees have not been more aggressive in promoting their own interests above those of the corporation in question.



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