WalMart ‘Black Friday’ protests in the USA

This video from the USA is called Walmart Black Friday- Why Workers Are Striking.

By Phyllis Scherrer and Jerry White in the USA:

The “Black Friday” protests at WalMart

22 November 2012

A series of pickets and other protests are scheduled throughout the US against the giant retailer WalMart for “Black Friday”—the day after Thanksgiving and traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.

OUR WalMart (Organization United for Respect at WalMart), launched by the United Food and Commercial Workers last year, is behind the protests, along with a coalition of unions, liberal organizations and church groups.

While it is not clear how many WalMart workers the protests will attract, there is deep and growing dissatisfaction over management abuse, irregular hours and the poverty level wages paid by the company that netted $15 billion in profits last year. The exploitation of the company’s 1.4 million so-called associates has provided vast riches for the Walton family, with the top six heirs of founder Sam Walton accumulating a fortune greater than the bottom 30 percent of all Americans.

Retail workers at WalMart are particularly angered over being forced to give up time with their families on the Thanksgiving holiday in order to stock shelves and prepare stores for Black Friday sales. Over the last few years, as the economic crisis has cut into consumer spending, WalMart has led the drive by the big retailers to open their stores ever earlier to get an edge on the holiday sales season.

Last year, workers at Target delivered petitions with 190,000 signatures protesting the company’s decision to open stores just after midnight on Black Friday. This year, WalMart plans to open its stores as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Over the last several months these and other indignities have sparked growing opposition and the call by OUR WalMart for wage increases to $13 an hour, full-time and flexible work schedules, health benefits, and the freedom to air grievances has gained some support.

On October 4, a group of 60 WalMart workers walked off the job in Los Angeles, California to protest the company’s poverty wages and unfair treatment. The following week a group of 88 workers at 28 WalMart stories nationwide walked off the job in solidarity.

The protests have spread to stores in Dallas, Miami, Seattle, Maryland, Oklahoma, and California. Most have been one day actions and demonstrations, including a protest outside company headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Riot police armed with a sound cannon were deployed against non-violent protestors in the latter case.

WalMart has responded with intimidation, victimizations and threatened firings. Earlier this week the company sought, but failed to receive, an injunction from the National Labor Relations Board, charging that its workers were not members of the United Food and Commercial Workers and therefore any picketing would be “illegal.”

One of the strikers at a Pico Rivera WalMart in Los Angeles, Monique Velasquez, told Huffington Post that after being involved in protests she had her hours reduced from 30 hours a week to 8.

Velasquez, a single mom with five children said without her regular pay she “can’t even pay one bill. It’s very, very hard.” She added, “Anyone who goes against management, you’re pretty much putting a target on your back. They intimidate you by cutting hours or picking on you in any way they can.”

Black Friday Creep Costs Retail Workers Their Thanksgiving: here.

Walmart Strikes: Lone Worker Walks Out, Receives Trespass Warning Ahead Of Black Friday: here.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has suspended a “few associates” at its joint venture in India amid an ongoing probe into bribery allegations: here.

10 thoughts on “WalMart ‘Black Friday’ protests in the USA

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