Black Friday Protest Plans Draw Response from Wal-Mart

by on November 19, 2012 · 2 comments

in Economy, Labor, Politics

Sporadic protests and walkouts at Wal-Mart locations around the country last week have prompted the mega-retailer to complain to the National Labor Relations Board.  A letter, sent by the company to the United Foodservice and Commercial Workers, accuses the union of provoking “disruptions” in its business, spreading “misinformation” and creating an “uncomfortable environment and undue stress on Wal-Mart’s customers.”

Wal-Mart (along with Target and Sears) is planning to open its stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. Employees, many of whom are expected report for work at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day are complaining about not being given a choice as to whether they would work on Thanksgiving and were told to do so with little warning.  They point to previous experiences with trying to talk directly with management about scheduling and other problems has led to reductions in hours, harassment and even termination for those brave enough to say anything.

For years, Wal-Mart has been targeted by unions and workers complaining about low wages, scant benefits, and retaliation against those who speak out.  Until now, the company has crushed attempts by employees to organize.

The current round of actions has occurred outside the normal sphere of labor-management interactions. Protesters are not asking for union representation, despite getting logistical support from the UCFW, and this has led to broader public recognition of (and a public relations nightmare about) workplace issues at the company. With 1.4 million employees, Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the U.S.

Over 1000 protests of all types are planned at Wal-Mart locations around the country this week.  For information about events at stores in your area, go here.

This article is excerpted from The Starting Line, a daily news column at the San Diego Free Press

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

unWASHEdWalmaRtthONG November 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Haven’t shopped at walmart since I spotted the unwashed thong in a store about a decade ago.


Citizen Cane November 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm

The results are in. According to Wal-Mart, 22 million Americans went shopping at Wal-Marts on Thanksgiving. I reckon that’s about seven percent of our population. So I offer you a new number group to despise…the seven percenters.

A snip from the MarketWatch story:
Meanwhile, some retailers were beginning to report Black Friday figures. Wal-Mart’s U.S. merchandising chief told The Wall Street Journal that it saw 22 million customers on Thursday and enticed more families with children by starting Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving night this year.

Between 8 p.m. and midnight Eastern time, Wal-Mart processed almost 10 million register transactions, the Journal reported. But the company didn’t specify if that was more than the prior year.


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