Our Walmart: Global Retail Versus Local Mobilizations

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: Booth 41
Oral Presentation
Mathieu HOCQUELET , Centre Maurice Halbwachs, équipe PRO, École Hautes Études Sciences Sociales, Paris, France
This communication is based on the diachronic analysis of the “discrete” mutations of work, employment and trade unionism that occured in and around the US Walmart Supercenter stores since the end of the twentiest century. While the corporation is experiencing significant technical and organizational transformations, the rise of criticism invites us to question both the nature of mutations of work in stores and the action and protest records in a global service firm whose workforce is mainly made up of low paid immigrant women, holding jobs that do not require a particular degree. This communication is based on a series of interviews with employees and union activists as well as on in situ observations of meetings and walkouts organized by unions and associations conducted between 2010 and 2013 around Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. This approach emphasizes the organizational and institutional dimensions of the difficult but ongoing emergence of wide protests in a global firm that in half a century has come to thwart all attempts at unionization of its workforce.