December 7, 2012 10:35 am
Coworker.org, a Change.org-style organization that allows workers to start their own campaigns for changes in the workplace, launched this week with its first campaign, a petition to reinstate Walmart worker Cayt Lawley.
The platform, created by Jess Kutch and Michelle Miller, both alumni of SEIU, was described by Paul M. Secunda as ”put[ting] the power of collective bargaining into the hands of all workers, all over the world. It represents a scalable departure from traditional union organizing by providing ordinary people with online tools and training to organize their co-workers and advocate for changes on the job.”
From the Coworker.org website:
What have you noticed that needs fixing in your workplace? Where do you see an opportunity for positive change? Your campaign need not be limited to particular issues or locations. Your audience can be global or local.
When starting a campaign the most important step is to get the ball rolling – don’t worry about getting everything 100% right. Even experienced, professional campaigners make mistakes and often change tack as things develop. You don’t need to be an expert to launch a campaign in your workplace, you just need to be willing to learn new things along the way.
The campaign to reinstate Cayt, the Walmart worker who was laid off after telling her coworkers about the Black Friday Walmart actions, has already garnered 181 of 200 signatures (as of Thursday, Dec. 6).
From the petition to reinstate Ms. Lawley and grant her full back pay, started by Cayt’s coworker Aaron Duran:
My name is Aaron, and I worked closely with Cayt Lawley at Walmart in Arkansas for a little over the year. I've always known Cayt to be a very hard worker and to be very good at her job. But her job at Walmart has come at a great personal cost. When she was fired from Walmart, she was earning just $7.95 an hour. Like so many Walmart workers, Cayt has been barely making ends meet. Cayt began talking to her coworkers and telling them about the Black Friday actions. But when Cayt started speaking out for her coworkers, management started monitoring her a lot more. They would be at her register several times an hour. They treated her differently than other employees. She went from having her register audited four times a year to four times in one week. It was clear to all of us that they were trying to catch a mistake. Eventually, they succeeded. On Nov. 5th 2012, Cayt was called into the office and told they were going to have to terminate her. I am quite certain Cayt was targeted and terminated because she was standing up for the rights of Walmart workers. She's a hard worker. The customers love her. She deserves to be reinstated to her job at Walmart. Please join me in demanding that Walmart reinstate Cayt with full back pay.
To learn more about Coworker.org or to start a campaign, click here.