Union organizers and other activists came to West Seattle on Tuesday afternoon for a media briefing organized by UFCW 21 to spotlight their concerns about “the global supply chain for clothing” and working conditions for the people who work as part of that chain.They chose Jack Block Park in hopes of a scenic backdrop showing container-laden ships bringing in imports. Unfortunately, the rain moved in just as they were starting; also unfortunately for their hopes of a citywide spotlight, we were the only media who showed up.
Their main target of concern is Wal-Mart, which doesn’t have a nearby store – but, the organizers insisted, the corporation wants to open stores here. We rolled video on the entire 16-minute briefing, and have published it above. Speakers included Kalpona Akter, an organizer from Bangladesh, who said she had been jailed and otherwise persecuted for her campaign to improve working conditions. She went to the Wal-Mart shareholders’ meeting recently to pressure the corporation to make changes; here’s more on that – including Wal-Mart’s side of the story – from the New York Times.