The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 73/No. 49      December 21, 2009

Massachusetts: Warehouse
workers fight for contract
BOSTON—Chanting “Yes we can” in several languages, over 200 members of UNITE HERE Local 331 held a spirited rally outside the TJX distribution center in Worcester, Massachusetts, December 4 as part of their fight for a new contract. The current contract expires December 31.

Union members passed out red UNITE HERE T-shirts to cheering workers as they left the plant at the end of their shift.

Workers made signs in English, Spanish, Albanian, Vietnamese, and Arabic against the mandatory overtime and against a proposed “no fault” attendance policy that would result in termination after 13 absences.

Workers also said they oppose a company proposal to increase their health insurance costs and are demanding a wage increase of $2.85 over three years.

Union representatives and several workers in the plant spoke at the rally. An Albanian worker from second shift led the crowd in a chant. “Ne do te fitojme,” he yelled, raising his fist in the air. “Po! Po! Po!” roared the crowd in response, even though most do not speak Albanian. A worker offered the Militant a rough translation: “Can we do it—yes, yes, yes.”

Workers said they have been holding rallies in the company cafeteria during breaks and lunches.

TJX is the parent company of the retailers TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Marshalls, and AJ Wright. TJX reported a net profit of $347.8 million in the third quarter this year, a 47 percent increase over last year.
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