Friday, November 23, 2012

Walmart Workers Protest For Better Wages And Benefits On Black Friday (Updated)

Workers at Walmart stores across the country are walking off their jobs to protest the national retailer’s low wages and poor working conditions in an effort to raise public awareness about how the company treats its employees on the busiest shopping day of the year. The strikes, which began earlier this month, are the first in the 50 year history of the company and come just as Walmart reported a 9 percent increase in third-quarter net income, earning $3.63 billion.

Workers are also opposing Walmart’s poor benefits, alleged systematic discrimination against women, and its decision this year to kick off Black Friday on Thursday night. As Fox News reported today, many employees say they fear retaliation for speaking out against the company’s policies:


Walmart filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in an effort to stop the walk out last week, accusing protesters of violating a law “which prohibits picketing for any period over 30 days without filing a petition to form a union.”

The walk out is being organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and its subsidiary OUR Walmart. Walmart’s 1.4 million workers in the U.S. are not unionized.

Updated 11/24/2012 (This is what you get when you take too long, to tell someone you are upset. If all the employers would have pushed the people who were trying to unionize in 2011 this would have been taken more serious by the public):

So, how 'bout them Walmart protests? Apparently the demonstrations had little impact on the company's business, because according to the Sacramento Bee, Walmart has reported its best-ever Black Friday and says it served 22 million customers yesterday alone. Among the astounding numbers: Since last night, Walmart has sold 1.3 million TVs and 1.8 million ... towels? Yes, towels. The company's president and CEO says just 26 store protests took place, and "many of them did not include any Walmart associates."

He estimates less than 50 actual Walmart workers took part. The Atlantic Wire doesn't see how that could possibly be correct, but thinks the group organizing the protests is probably exaggerating, too—it claims strikes in 100 cities, 1,000 protests, and "hundreds and hundreds" walking off the job. Reuters reports that at one Chicago Walmart, just one single employee out of 500 took part, but four busloads of protesters eventually joined him. A protest at a California Walmart was particularly big, with 1,000 people taking part; nine of them were arrested peacefully after refusing to disperse, the Los Angeles Times reports.

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