American and Chinese workers at Wal-Mart are working together in a rare collaboration to fight work schedule changes and low wages, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports.
A rare collaboration: Reuters has learned that a U.S. worker group at Wal-Mart is working together with its Chinese counterpart. Together, the U.S. group called OUR Walmart and the Wal-Mart Chinese Workers Association plan to fight low wages and work schedule changes at the world's largest retailer. Last month, they discussed effective American strike strategies before Chinese Wal-Mart workers staged a strike in several cities over a new work scheduling system that they worried would cut overtime payments. OUR Walmart, claims support of over 100,000 workers. It says it can benefit by collectively pressing the company on issues. Neither worker group is a labor union and they lack leverage to force changes. But Reuters retail correspondent Nandita Bose who broke the story says OUR Walmart has as much power as a regular union. SOUNDBITE: NANDITA BOSE, RETAIL CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "They can definitely pose a problem to Wal-Mart if they decide to collaborate with international unions, in this case, the Chinese, and jointly discuss problems, present a similar set of demands in front of management in which case there's a situation not just in one country but across the geographies for the company." Wal-Mart wouldn't comment on the collaboration but said Chinese workers could choose not to participate in the new scheduling system.