Thursday, May 31, 2007

Circuit City Boycott on the Radio

KPFK 90.7 featured our Circuit City Boycott on this morning's "Morning Review with Eisha Mason. You can download it here or here. Check it out - the interview begins at minute 48:25.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Circuit City Woodland Hills Protest Recap

Thanks everyone who attended Sunday's Circuit City rally! We had over twenty people in Woodland Hills and once again turned away dozens of potential customers with our flyers and signs. Here are some highlights -

-- Two police officers showed up this time, apparently alerted by store management. They asked what was going on and when Rosemary Jenkins explained Circuit City's firings to them, said, "That's terrible!" They informed us we had every right to peacefully protest as long as we didn't disrupt traffic. The management was not happy about that and tried unsuccessfully to convince the officers otherwise. They weren't persuaded and the protest continued unabated.

-- Lots of passing cars honked their horns but our biggest supporters were the City's bus drivers, every one of whom honked as they passed. They understand the importance of sticking up for workers.

-- When they discovered what we were doing, a manager came out and asked us if we were the fired workers. When we explained that no, we were simply supporting workers in a moral cause, he laughed dismissively like he couldn't believe anyone would stick up for somebody else. But some of the other store employees seemed generally interested, and waiters from the Border Grill next door kept peering out of the windows and giving us the thumbs up.

-- After the rally, protester Rob Vinson reports that he went to make a purchase at Best Buy, and was told that their store was abuzz about our protest. Rob's cashier said she alone had helped three people who said they were directed away from Circuit City by the rally. That's business lost for Circuit City - and success for our action!

In other news, yesterday's business section reported that "A share of Circuit City is [now] cheaper than a DVD copy of the Borat movie the retailer sells on its Internet site."

Again, a huge thanks to everyone who gave up their Sunday morning to come out and march in the hot sun. We'll be announcing the next rally date soon, likely at the Northridge Circuit City location.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rally Photos!

We've updated photos from our May 5 Circuit City Protest rally - thanks to Becca Doten for the great camera-work!

Don't miss our next rally on May 27 in Woodland Hills!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

More Allies in Circuit City Fight

Our Circuit City coalition is growing by leaps and bounds! Last week, the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley and Valley Grassroots for Democracy officially voted to support our boycott. DP/SFV and Valley Grassroots members have already been working closely with us, but their official support will allow us to communicate further with their membership. Thanks to both of these groups for their continuing efforts!

Also last week, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union voted to support a lawsuit brought by three fired Oxnard Circuit City employees, alleging age discrimination.
RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said that even though the laid off workers are not members of his union, "what happened to them and other Circuit City workers represents a two-fisted assault against all retail employees."

"The bottom line is that every retail worker has a stake in this fight," said Appelbaum, who said the RWDSU plans to file an amicus brief in support of the California workers.

"If Circuit City is allowed to get away with this unchallenged, it's only a matter of time before other major retailers follow suit," he added.
We welcome the support of RWDSU and other unions (including the AFL-CIO) standing up for these wronged workers. Unfortunately these workers did not have their own union - legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act could help change that.

I hope you will all join us at our next protest rally, Sunday May 27, in front of the Woodland Hills Circuit City store. (More info here.) The pressure is building on Circuit City every day; we can make a difference if we speak up collectively for our American values.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Circuit City Protest Rally Recap

First let me say a HUGE thank-you to everyone who showed up to our Circuit City Protest Rally yesterday, from Democratic groups all over the Valley. In case you missed out, we will be announcing our next rally date shortly - likely during Memorial Day weekend.

Nearly twenty people turned out in Van Nuys to wave signs, pass out flyers, and educate customers about Circuit City's heinous mass layoffs. Through our efforts we reached dozens of potential customers and talked them into shopping elsewhere. The local management was clearly nervous about our presence - they brought out a hand-lettered "10% off!" sign and balloons to lure in skeptical customers. Apparently Circuit City can afford to mark down prices now that they've fired all their experienced workers.

We were joined at our protest by a woman who told us she was one of the workers laid off from another Valley Circuit City location, and her husband. She thanked us for taking up the issue and promised to attend future protests.

Will these kinds of protests make a difference? In fact, they already are! On Saturday the Washington Post reported on consumers nation-wide who are now vowing to boycott Circuit City. From the article:
When Carole Fisher read the news in March that Circuit City fired 3,400 employees so it could replace them with lower-paid workers, she knew one thing: She would never shop there again.

"They weren't going after the big guys, they were going after the little guys again," said Fisher, 71, of Ellicott City. "It seems to me the little guy gets screwed pretty routinely when a company is having trouble."

Although she needs to replace her kitchen television, she'll shop elsewhere. It will be her little way of trying to fix what she thinks is wrong with corporate America.
Consumer backlash is already affecting Circuit City's bottom line. Last week the company announced it was expecting to post a first-quarter loss.
The company, which on Monday also revised its outlook for the first half of its fiscal year ending Feb. 29, 2008, cited poor sales of large flat-panel and projection televisions. Analysts said Circuit City had cast off some of its most experienced and successful people and was losing business to competitors who have better-trained employees.

"I think even though sales were soft in March, this is clearly why April sales were worse. They were replaced with less knowledgeable associates," said Tim Allen, an analyst with Jefferies & Co.

In particular, the televisions showing disappointing results are "intensive sales" requiring more informed employees, Allen said. "It's a big-ticket purchase for somebody. And if they feel like they're not getting the right advice or are being misled by someone who doesn't know, it would be definitely frustrating. They will take their business elsewhere."
I'm guessing Circuit City already regrets this bone-headed move, and it's only going to get worse. Until they offer back their fired workers their jobs at their original salaries (and at this point, Circuit City should be begging them to come back), our boycott will continue.

Stay tuned... we'll be posting pictures and video soon!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Hillary Slams Circuit City

Guess who's joining the chorus of Circuit City criticism?

Senator Hillary Clinton took on the reckless retailer on Friday, asking them to reconsider their firings.
"Twelve dollars an hour is now considered too high a wage in America," Clinton said at a teacher's union conference. "What's really stunning is many of these fired workers had been promoted, they'd been told they were doing a good job."
Go Hillary! If you see any other prominent politicos taking on Circuit City, please drop me a line so I can give them some props.

And don't forget to attend our Circuit City Boycott Rally this Sunday, May 6, 10am at the Van Nuys Circuit City @ Victory and Woodman! Please RSVP!