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A group known as “Making Change At Walmart” organized an “action event” in Oakland on June 3, at which Boxer & Gerson Workers’ Compensation Specialist Dennis Popalardo was a featured speaker. The event was intended to highlight the multiple ways that the Walmart Corporation falls short in its commitment to workers’ rights and just compensation.
Popalardo has taken on Walmart on behalf of eight different clients over the years, the most recent being an as-yet unresolved case stemming from a client who slipped and suffered a fractured lower back while working in Walmart’s Union City store last May. The woman has not been able to work since, but Walmart has denied her coverage for needed home care and pain medication. The case is also notable in that Walmart had been hesitant to call an ambulance for the worker at the injury site, delaying doing so despite the severe nature of the injury and the employee’s obvious distress.
Walmart has long been known as hostile to union organizing efforts. A Washington Post story last year led with this: “The fact that Wal-Mart opposes unions isn’t news. The company has a long history of fighting them, to the point of closing stores after employees organize. Training documents that surfaced last year showed how managers are instructed to talk to their teams about why unions are so undesirable.”
Nevertheless, organizing efforts continue around the country under a variety of groups. According to Walmart.com, the company employs 1.5 million people in the U.S. alone and another 800,000 internationally. Its U.S. employees represent about 1% of the country’s entire workforce, a statistic that gives it enormous impact in labor relations, with reverberations for policymaking rippling throughout the economy.