Tyrone Robinson, the lone worker and protester from Chicago’s Walmart on the far south side of the city, estimates he earns about $15,000 a year doing produce management. One of the demands of the strikes is that workers be able to earn at least $25,000 a year if they work full time.
"My ends ain’t meeting," he said. "My hours have gone down to about 30 hours a week, and I make $8.25."
Robinson, a small African-American man buzzing with nervous energy, was wearing his bright green OUR Walmart shirt and a Bulls cap. (OUR stands for Organization United for Respect.) Tears left a trail down his face on the bitterly cold early morning.
"I know there are other Walmart workers in there that feel like me, but they are just terrified of retaliation because Walmart told them that if you walk off, you will be terminated immediately," he said.
"I want to let them know if I can do it, get up and speak up about what you deserve," Robinson said. "We work hard, we get here on time, we do what we got to do. I feel very proud to do this, and once I return I’ll tell them about it."
When you kill unions, you kill labor, and when you kill labor, you kill people.
I will be looking for Tyrone Robinson’s name in the news tomorrow. I hope he still has his job…but I don’t have much hope for Walmart.