Solidarity Goes Global

Excerpt from the NATION (December 21, 2012) blog —

“Our main goal,” said Cortina*, “is to try to call
attention to the company, that they should sit down
and negotiate with unions in the United States.”
Cortina said that many customers who saw the
workers demonstrating showed “solidarity attitudes,
singing with us, and making signals with our
hands.” “The exercise of the right to strike,” he
added, “is a very common thing here.. it’s not
something strange for us.”

Walmart did not respond to a Thursday request for

Last week’s Day of Action was followed by protests
this week greeting a ship that activists said was
unloading Walmart goods from Bangladesh, first on
Tuesday at the Port of Newark, and then yesterday
at the Port of Charleston, where union members
refused for an hour to unload the cargo.

“When Walmart first came” to Argentina, said
Cortina, “they were terrible.” Early on, he said,
“workers burned tires and broke windows.” To win
union recognition, Cortina said, “We had to fight
tough in every place and try to convince [Walmart]
that they had to talk to us, and they had to adjust
their way of doing things.” To this day, he added,
“they are not the same as the other retailers. They
are tougher and that makes us deal with them
sometimes tougher.”

But Cortina expressed confidence that, with
international pressure, Walmart would eventually
change its labor relations in the United States. “At
the end of the day,” he said, “the world is going to
advance on organizing workers. We are going to
advance on organizing workers.”

* Rueben Cortina, President of the Union Federation

Corporations move across national borders to pursue their goals especially if one of those goals is to crush unions of workers. The Labor Movement will need to go global to counter Corporate power. The Argentine strike in solidarity with American workers is a good sign. American workers need to reciprocate as necessary.


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