The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

A workers’ skirmish that got some rare publicity

Oct 30, 2006

About a hundred Wal-Mart workers in a Florida store held a one-hour lunchtime protest on October 15, against their hours being cut back and their schedules jerked around.

This type of skirmish with management is not particularly unusual. Workers across the country, around the world, engage in all kinds of resistance against their exploitation, against their misuse and abuse by managements set on one more penny of profit.

If these workers’ protest got some publicity, it’s only because Wal-Mart is in the national spotlight, singled out for political focus these days.

The national spotlight may have pushed Wal-Mart management into public damage control, claiming that the store manager made a “mistake.” Every worker understands that as soon as the spotlight is off, management will simply resume their attack in a different way – and workers will have to respond again. And again.

Small-scale battles are a fact of life in every workplace.

If the bosses’ newspapers would print every story of workers’ on-the-job organization and resistance, there would be room for nothing else in the papers! So of course, they are ignored.

Nevertheless – behind the scenes – the skirmishes go on.