wal-mart hunger strike

In a strange bit of coincidence, less than a day after I posted something about the need for a union at Wal-Mart, I happened across a story at the Arbor Update site about the efforts of one employee in Colorado and what they’ve cost him. Here’s a clip:

A Polish immigrant involved in Poland’s Solidarity movement in the 1980s is on a hunger strike after being fired from a Loveland, Colo., Wal-Mart Distribution Center.

Ryszard Tomtas was fired Tuesday for “horseplay” he said, but he believes he was really fired because he was trying to organize a union at the center.

Tomtas, 46, chained himself to a stop sign in front of Wal-Mart on Thursday but police asked him to unchain himself to avoid an arrest. Police told him he can protest in front of the building as long as he doesn’t block the right-of-way.

The married father of a young son said he will drink only water until he gets some “positive impact” from Wal-Mart. He said he can’t get unemployment because he was fired…

Tomtas claims he was fired because he signed a union card and the union notified Wal-Mart he would try to organize a union at the center, a charge which Wal-Mart denied in a written statement.

I haven’t done any research yet, but if what the Tomtas is claiming is true, the pro-union folks may have just found their Rosa Parks. Let’s just hope his story checks out, and that the press covers his protest.

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  1. chris
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    If he doesn’t die of mysterious causes first, or is deported for terrorist activity. THis headline next…”Al Qaeda Cells Operating Out Of Trade Unions”

  2. Posted March 15, 2005 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    While i wish mr. Tomtas the best of luck, i seriously doubt that there will be any legal result of his claim of being fired for organizing, as they have done that time and time again elsewhere.

    As far as i know, the closest wal-mart has yet come to being unionized occured a few years ago with a group of butchers at one of their stores out west (I think in Nevada), who actually DID form a union. At that point, wal-mart immediately began purchasing all meat products pre-cut and laid off all their deli workers.

    It’s a very big organism capable of cutting off its own limbs and regenerating them at will, and i think that fluid ability of -pardon the phrase- ‘evolving’ is the biggest problem involving large corporations and the threat they pose.

  3. Ken
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Brett you are correct about that butchers union. It occured in Texas and all the butchers were demoted to associates when they started selling pre-packaged meat.

    More recently, Walmart closed down an entire store when it looked like the union was going to be successful in their drive. Of course, that happened in that socialist nation north of our border.

    I worked at Sam’s as Christmas help one year and for a nothing job that mainly involved stacking boxes we sure had a lot of training. A lot of it was about what to do if them bad union men come around. You don’t even talk to them and you report them to your supervisor immediately.

  4. chris
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Now, if we could just mix union organizing w/ prostitution, we might make some head way. Kami where are you?!!!!

    Of course, this may get you a burial spot next to Jimmy Hoffa.

  5. brett
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    sorry, chris, but it’s already been done:


  6. brett
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    and before Kami appears and starts pissing on chris and i, we should clarify that strippers, prostitutes, and porno stars are actually three completely different animals.

  7. Posted March 15, 2005 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    WalMart is the blob.

    Now, I know you can’t collect Unemployment if you quit, but I thought you could if you were fired as long as it wasn’t for “just cause.” Ultimately, if he was attempting to orgainze a union he should have been very careful to not give them a reason to fire him. “Horseplay” sounds potentially provable and would fall under “just casue” for creating a dangerous work environment. I wish him luck.

  8. chris
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Yes Brett, I knew that…and was intrepidly combining unlike horse colours. BUSTED!!!! But I was thinking, not unionizing prostitution but using the flesh market to unionize hard to break into industries.

  9. chris
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    However, given that Mike referred to me as a legspread cum dumster (not sure if he meant to say dumpster or hamster…or chimera thereof for that matter) I think that I am entitled to speak for the industry if nothing more than as a dilettante.

  10. brett
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    chris, i knew you knew that. I just didn’t want anyone to get a golden shower if it wasn’t consensual.

    now, the idea of USING sex to promote unions is an insteresting one. There’s an ex-organizer at the progressive book club that mark and i could ask about it.

    Perhaps you’ve stumbled upon the solution to all the problems of liberal semantics, issue-framing, etc, insofar as we should simply use sex to sell our agenda- since that’s one thing the republicans can’t do because of their political base.

  11. brett
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    “legspread cum dumster.”

    maybe he meant it in the proper english format of you WERE a ‘legspread’ and then BECAME a ‘dumster’, not that this explains what that actually means.

    As he is a genius, mike unfortunately talks over our heads quite often.

  12. chris
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Though the GOP may not be able to blatantly use sex, this does not preclude their constituency from being receptive to it. In fact, given all that repression I bet they could be quite impressionable to a little hard nipple action. As they always seem to be looking for it.

    In fact, I bet the religious right has WAY more sex than us sleazy liberals. Really nast shit too. Didn’t I read somewhere that the South sells more porn than the North? Kami? I guess us Northeners in typical commie style just give it away.

  13. brett
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I can’t cite a specific source, but there were a couple news reports prior to the republican convention in new york involving sex workers literally being bussed in to handle the increased demand.

  14. chris
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I heard that too.

  15. brett
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    so, i guess we need to get sex workers in new york city to be our ‘frank luntzes’ as it were, letting us know what specific preferences, fetishes, etc. republicans are most succeptible to. as you said…”Kami?”

  16. Posted March 16, 2005 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    ya i was in new york for the republican convention haha i made 9k in 2 days :)

    as far as whores for unions thats a touchy thing. My brothers are all union stewards and blah blah blah its great n at.
    on the flip side when my grandpa came to this country he got his ass beat for not joining the union, he was willing to work for lower wages cause he had 4 kids in fucking hump back trailor.

    funny thing he became a long distance drug runner ( I never had a chance)

    Wal mart provides a lot of jobs to a lot of people. They are pure evil but I would hate to see all those people (one of em is my momma) outta work.

    Some porn chicks would piss on you or worse if you likened them to a hooker. I’m not one of those girls. I have sex I get money, I don’t think I’m meryl streep.

  17. brett
    Posted March 16, 2005 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    So, Kami, did you notice anything that ‘stood out’ as preferred by the republican customers? Based on my reading of the few links above, i guess i’m leaning towards BDSM with a very strict patriarchal theme, possibly involving military uniforms. If we could get some dominatrixii to run for elected office, i think that would throw quite a wrench into the conservative echo chamber.

    what IS the plural of dominatrix?

    i agree about unions sometimes being a two way street, but for every one person like your grandfather who got a raw deal, there’s a hundred kids that don’t have to work in coal mines because of them.

    and finally, meryl streep sucks. Figuratively.

  18. Posted March 16, 2005 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I think Dominatricies

    Like matrix / matricies

  19. Posted March 16, 2005 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    “Some porn chicks would piss on you or worse if you likened them to a hooker”

    I’d like to see them hit me!

  20. Posted March 17, 2005 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I didnty ask so hay you here for the convention? hows that moral platform going? haha

    anymore all i come across is submissives.

  21. brett
    Posted March 17, 2005 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    “anymore all i come across is submissives.”

    I’ll take that both ways.

    Good news for my sinister plan to create the perfect democratic candidate, though.

    Right now she’s looking something like a cross between Sybil Danning playing the part of Illsa, She-Wolf of the SS, and sally field in Norma Rae.

    Mark, if you have any chance of taking a break from building your frank gannon robot, i could use some help here.

  22. Posted March 17, 2005 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    “I’ll take that both ways.”

    Brett, when did you start “taking it both ways”? Did you start working with Kami when we weren’t paying attention?

  23. brett
    Posted March 17, 2005 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Since we started talking about Wal-Mart I’ve been taking it “Always”.

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