Local Walmart workers plan strike

Johnny Wilson is going on strike Friday with at least six other current and former Clovis Walmart employees.

Wilson and his Walmart associates are among thousands of Walmart workers around the nation who plan to engage in non-violent protest strikes, rallies and flash mobs on Black Friday to bring attention to how claim they are unfairly treated.

The United Food and Commercial Worker's International Union alleges that Walmart has attempted to silence its employees, who claim the company manipulates work hours and benefits to prevent employees from working full-time and earning a livable income.

"I'm hoping that everybody can see how Walmart is running their store and I hope that Walmart will take notice that its associates are not going to take it anymore," said Wilson. "We shouldn't have to work in unsafe conditions."

Wilson, 34, an overnight stocker for Walmart, said he suffered a back injury in January 2011 on the job due to faulty equipment, was sent home and told by management his injury qualified as a minor back strain.

He said he was terminated when he returned to work, but was reinstated 12 hours later and sent to the hospital after arguing with Walmart officials at the regional office.

Also, Wilson said he is underpaid, overworked and has received two 40 cent raises in three years of employment.

"The best way to get them to listen is when they have many customers there who can learn about how Walmart is treating us," said Wilson, who pays child support for his five children.

Wilson, a United Food and Commercial Workers organizer, and other Walmart employees will engage customers on Friday. Wilson's team of protesters will try to get customers to support Walmart employees on strike by either boycotting or standing beside employees on strike.

The National Labor Relations Board has yet to rule on a Walmart request for an injunction stop the picketing at its 4,000 stores nationwide.

Walmart national media relations director Kory Lundberg said in a statement, "In fact, many of our associates have urged us to do something about the UFCW's latest round of publicity stunts because they don't think it's right that a few associates that are being coerced by the UFCW are being portrayed by the media as representative of what it's like to work at Walmart."

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