Daily Kos: American and Korean worker groups rally against Walmart in Seoul

Monday, March 12, 2012

By Laura Clawson

Read the article at the Daily Kos.

Workers are reaching around the world to pressure Walmart to improve its labor policies. Korean and American unions and labor groups, including Change to Win, Warehouse Workers United, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the Korean Public Service and Transportation Workers Union, and International Solidarity House joined this week for a demonstration outside of Walmart's global procurement office in Seoul, calling on the corporation to adopt a Responsible Contractor Policy.

"Millions of families around the globe are suffering because of Walmart’s failure to protect the workers who help the business profit," said KPTU Vice President Jong-in Kim. "Walmart is orchestrating a race to the bottom which is driving down wages for workers across Asia and allowing human rights violations by suppliers and contractors."

Because so much of the work in Walmart's supply chain is outsourced to subcontractors, giving Walmart semi-plausible deniability for their abuses, worker groups have been working to pressure the corporation in a variety of ways, including wage theft and retaliatory firing complaints against warehouse companies serving Walmart, as well as informational events like the one that helped lead a major pension fund to blacklist Walmart this winter. Building an international coalition to create pressure in other countries where workers suffer from its abusive policies keeps Walmart under pressure and builds the case for its responsibility: Walmart is the the common connection between all of these subcontractors at which workers are underpaid and physically endangered, so Walmart ultimately bears responsibility for demanding a higher standard.

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