Filed under: Community Organizing, Labor, Southeast
The day began with anticipating the management would harass us workers on strike, just as they had done previously. To our surprise they changed tactics and decided to be hands off, even friendly to us. We’ll never trust their intentions, but we’ll gladly take the breathing room to talk to coworkers and customers more freely. The same manager who seemed sympathetic with us the previous day informed us at the morning team huddle Daniel Butler told the work crew that he was under investigation by Target. As one worker told us “it was awkward.”
This news lifted our spirits, proving that what workers had tried individually for years, we finally accomplished with collective action and community support. While we support this move by Target we also won’t entrust our fight for justice in the hands of a corporation. That duty belongs directly to us rank and file workers. It was amusing to us, that despite the more hands off approach of management today, the managers, including the district manager, were outside pushing carts. We know what attempts at surveillance and intimidation look like, but they won’t deter us, give us a chuckle maybe, but nothing more.
If we were floored by the spontaneous solidarity by local workers and old union heads yesterday today was astronomical in comparison. Virginia unions stepped up and turned out en masse to join our picket, the UFCW and the UAW all showed up to join the picket line, providing bodies and resources without us even asking them to. For the first time in our lives the unions had a real presence. This is not a union town, this is hardly a center of workers power (we’re working on changing that), but today felt like it was.
With the planning of this strike we wanted to firstly defeat a class enemy of local workers, and we are gaining momentum on this. All workers who provided testimonies as well as those who were too afraid of retaliation for recording theirs have been reached out to with the contact information of the Target investigator, but we also want this strike and its results to act as a beacon to the local working class that together we are unstoppable and we can force all these corporations to meet our demands of worker respect, a living wage, of health coverage, and worker control over the workplace. We start with Daniel Butler, but we won’t finish with him.