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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Walmart Employees Threaten Black Friday Strike

Posted by on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Right the fuck ON, Walmart employees!

One day after Walmart employees in twelve states launched a major strike, today workers issued an ultimatum to the retail giant: Stop retaliating against workers trying to organize, or the year’s most important shopping day, the Friday after Thanksgiving, will see the biggest disruptions yet. The announcement comes as 200 workers – some of them currently striking – have converged in the Walmart’s Bentonville, Arkansas hometown outside the company’s annual investors meeting. It offers a new potential challenge to Walmart, and a new test for OUR Walmart, the labor-backed organization that’s pulled off the first two multi-store U.S. strikes in Walmart history.

I would love this so much. Over the last few years, television news media has turned Black Friday into such an event that they'd be forced to cover these protests, which means that lots of American families would wind up discussing unions and the rights of workers over the long holiday weekend. That's got to be a good thing.


Comments (31) RSS

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Tacoma Traveler 1
This is a very good thing. I would like to join the strikers and provide strike relief.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on October 10, 2012 at 5:30 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 2
I support these strikers, Black Friday sounds like a plan, though they probably should have waited to announce this to prevent Walmart from hiring low cost replacements to sell their Communist Chinese Crap.

Not even the promise of cheap ammunition can get me to shop at that place.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on October 10, 2012 at 5:34 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 3
More like families bitching how they couldn't get their 70" flat-screen at the doorbuster price.
Posted by Free Lunch on October 10, 2012 at 5:35 PM · Report this
josh 4
It's cute that you think this would prompt widespread supportive discussions of unions and workers rights around holiday dinner tables.
Posted by josh on October 10, 2012 at 5:40 PM · Report this
Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown. 5
It would also be a good thing, Paul, if you would call Darryl down at the Guild and seek help organizing this scab rag.
Posted by Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown. on October 10, 2012 at 5:49 PM · Report this
LogopolisMike 6
Most of me thinks @4 is right, but if there was a Kickstarter to promote Black Friday-striking Walmart workers, my upper middle class ass would be donating hand over fist.
Posted by LogopolisMike on October 10, 2012 at 5:51 PM · Report this
levide 7
Of course, Wal-Mart would just hire a bunch of scabs....sorry, "strike-breakers" even lower pay to replace the strikers, possibly even permanently. I completely support the strike in theory, but maybe not such a good thing in practice.
Posted by levide on October 10, 2012 at 6:03 PM · Report this
Of course Walmart plans on hiring scabs. The employees don't plan on "disrupting" Black Friday by not showing up. They plan on disrupting Black Friday with "strikes, leafleting to customers, and flash mobs."

People will get ejected from the premises. People will get arrested. But Black Friday will be disrupted, and Wallmart will eat a huge loss. You can't have cops bodily dragging scores of protesters out of Walmart without impacting customers' ability to buy a 70" TV.
Posted by Ruke on October 10, 2012 at 6:21 PM · Report this
merry 9

You go, Walmart workers!
Posted by merry on October 10, 2012 at 6:46 PM · Report this

Not to mention complaining about how these greedy,'Murka-hatin' socialistic freeloaders are preventing them from exercising their God-given Constitutional right to buy cheap, Chinese-made "These Colors Don't Run!" XXXL t-shirts...
Posted by COMTE on October 10, 2012 at 6:49 PM · Report this
dirac 11
Kumbaya, I finally agree with the asshole @2.

Posted by dirac on October 10, 2012 at 8:23 PM · Report this
sloegin 12
Best Buy - Midnight
JC Pennys - 4am
Macys - 4am
Sears - 4am
Walmart - 10pm Thanksgiving

Black Fridays, screwing low paid employees everywhere. This stupid retail day needs to die.
Posted by sloegin on October 10, 2012 at 9:20 PM · Report this
Tingleyfeeln 13
This can't happen! I look forward to a post-Black Friday flood of youtube vids showing shoppers acting like jackasses.
Posted by Tingleyfeeln on October 10, 2012 at 9:53 PM · Report this
They can't replace them with lower paid employees, because they would mostly run up against the minimum wage.

They won't have much trouble finding scabs anyway though. They just might not be able (or willing?) to hire enough of them, especially at this time of year when everyone is staffing up for the holidays. So that brings in the possibility that they might hire replacement workers at higher pay than the striking force, just to maintain ideological purity.
Posted by Lack Thereof on October 10, 2012 at 9:58 PM · Report this
This is more likely to get traction if people on the buy side honor the strike. Too many people are afraid for their jobs to make this work from the other side.
Posted by dak7e on October 10, 2012 at 10:09 PM · Report this
Yeah, if we all stopped buying from Walmart, they wouldn't have to strike!
Posted by madcap on October 11, 2012 at 12:54 AM · Report this
After reading the Salon,com article it jus seems to be labor wishfully exagerating like Mitt Romney does along with lazy reporting by the writer. 88 employees out of 22 stores across the us? Thats a drop in the bucket out of the total Walmart employee base. And some in Seattle? There is no WalMart in Seattle at all! Nearest traditional WM is Renton and there are the grocery only ones in Bellevue.

No way will this amount to anything at all other than inflating the egos of some labor activist types.
Posted by HMRBEAR on October 11, 2012 at 12:56 AM · Report this
MythicFox 18
While it's a good thing that people are trying this (or at least planning it), somebody should point out that Walmart is wealthy enough to bribe the proper people into increasing the number of hours they can legally force truckers to work. They've probably got enough money to make it legal to shoot any employees who would dare disrupt Black Friday.
Posted by MythicFox on October 11, 2012 at 12:58 AM · Report this
The minimum wage will be $9 something next year, so it's already about what WalMart pays anyway. They wouldn't have to pay more for replacement workers. People who used to be called scabs are now simply desperate poor people. (They always were, actually.)
Posted by sarah70 on October 11, 2012 at 12:59 AM · Report this
This sounds very promising. Black Friday isn't about disrupting operations. it's about a PR disaster for Wall-mart
Posted by anon1256 on October 11, 2012 at 1:46 AM · Report this
Ipso Facto 21
So how long will Constant support this strike? My guess is he'll support it as long as it appears to be sanctioned by the Democratic party.

If the workers become affiliated in any way with Occupy, or deviate from Democrat talking points, Paulie will likely turn against them just like he did with Occupy when he realized it wasn't simply going to be a force to re-elect Obama.

In any case, this sounds like a great thing for Wal-Mart workers and and for broader labor conditions by extension. Here is Democracy Now!'s coverage of the strike, including an interview with the author of the Salon article, Josh Eidelson.

JOSH EIDELSON: Sure. So that’s similar to the reaction that I’ve gotten in my reporting for Salon from Wal-Mart spokespeople. It is true that the workers who’ve gone on strike are a very small fraction, about one in 10,000 of Wal-Mart’s total workforce. But they’ve taken a very dramatic action, and they’ve done it based on assertions, based on frustrations, that clearly are shared by a larger group of workers. And neither what a particular spokesperson nor a particular survey says can speak to what the depth of frustration is.

Now, you’ll hear different things from different workers, but I, for example, talked to someone who makes less than $10 an hour, talked about how the workers who get paid one week have to then lend money to the workers who won’t get paid until the next week, because people don’t afford lunch. When—as The Nation reported this week, as Bryce Covert noted, the independent estimates that have been done are that Wal-Mart workers make less than Wal-Mart says they do. Even Wal-Mart claims that they make less than $13 an hour.

And so, the question of labor involvement, it should be clear that the organization in play here, OUR Walmart, is closely tied to the United Food and Commercial Workers. It is no secret that labor has long struggled against Wal-Mart, because Wal-Mart is one of the world’s largest employers, the largest private-sector employer. It drives down standards. It’s aggressively fought unionization. And we’re at a moment when—it used to be in U.S. history that unionized companies successfully pushed up the standards in industries even for non-union workers. Right now in this industry, we see that standards, even for union workers, have been driven down by Wal-Mart. And so, it is an existential threat to the labor movement. And what we’ve seen in these strikes is a greater level of success and a greater level of risk taken by workers in order to fight Wal-Mart than we’ve seen over the past decades.
Posted by Ipso Facto on October 11, 2012 at 3:47 AM · Report this
Last of the Time Lords 22
@21, you win Slog today. Honestly really is the best policy no matter the political party.
Posted by Last of the Time Lords on October 11, 2012 at 4:10 AM · Report this
Paul Constant should get an award for being more genuinely interested in the labor more so than Goldy, that latter of whom merely pays it lip service.
Posted by hmmmmm on October 11, 2012 at 7:40 AM · Report this
I propose folks who support the strikers sign up for replacement jobs and then no show last second to mess up walmart's efforts to have an effective scab workforce.
Posted by upchuck on October 11, 2012 at 12:33 PM · Report this
#17 actually, Wal*Mart recently bought the Red Apple chain in Seattle (which is currently unionized). So if the Red Apple strikes, they would be counted as Seattle Wal*Mart employees.

Wal*Mart bought Red Apple entirely for their locations, and are planning on rebuilding all of them as Supercenters (most likely multistory) over the next couple of decades.
Posted by Lack Thereof on October 11, 2012 at 3:09 PM · Report this
Q*bert H. Humphrey 26
@25, where did you read that Wal-Mart bought Red Apple? The only thing I can find on this is an article from Central District News that says that a Houston-based company called Weingarten Realty Investors bought the Promenade 23 shopping center at 23rd & Jackson in which there is a Red Apple. Weingarten says there's no Wal-Mart coming there, Red Apple itself hasn't been sold, and the owner of Red Apple says they plan on staying put (and have a long-term lease).
Posted by Q*bert H. Humphrey on October 11, 2012 at 3:37 PM · Report this
Weingarten has owned all the retail property on that corner for some time now as well as several others throughout the city; my own employer writes (massive) monthly rent checks to them. They'll work with whatever tenants are interested in rebuilding the 80's era suburban-style strip mall into something bigger with more lucrative rents.

This is more recent than the Weingarten buy, though. This info came from employees of the Red Apple last month, who were basically told that in a few years time they will all be permanently laid off as the property is redeveloped. Apparently Wal*Mart had made a previous offer to buy the chain and the owners declined to sell to them. So Wal*Mart had one of their subsidiaries buy the Red Apple instead.

If this info is wrong then the employees themselves are misinformed.
Posted by Lack Thereof on October 11, 2012 at 5:15 PM · Report this
I find it hilarious and desensitized that Sarah70 says that they average Walmart worker makes about $9 an hour. When was this? When Sam Walton was alive? Because TODAY the $9 you talk about is what your lucky to make at Walmart after being employed 3-4years, and sadly for those employees that have became employed over the last four years and receive a promotion to a department manager it's roughly around $10.00 an hour, and for a newly promoted zone manager absolutely no more than $12 an hour and in comparison to the $15-$18hour those Zone mgrs from the Sam Walton era are making is bullshit, because the level of work, abuse, disrespect, crappy benefits, and slave labor they expect out of all of these under paid employees is deplorable! I hope it is successfully planned and executed to start holding the Walmart giant accountable.
Posted by getreal20 on October 12, 2012 at 8:42 AM · Report this
I am a walmart employee at store 1767 in shallotte NC, I thought working at walmart would be wonderful. Esp. since theyre constantly boasting about their great benifits (that none of us can afford) and how friendly the environment is, and how much of a team we all are. I put it like this we are over worked and underpaid dosnt even begin to describe it. I was conned into becoming a third shift associate (it was supposed to be temp). and ive watched them force employees into different positions. Walmart is ran by a bunch of communists and their open door policy (you can go to managment about any issue) will have you canned in a matter of minutes. And during the holiday season (when sales are higher than ever) the greedy sons of B&*%$@S cut our hours to cut costs to the store . Now saving money for the store understandable, but forcing us to clone ourselves to do triple work is ridiculous. And if you do end up obtaining what they call a D day (somthing created by Hitler for bothersom walmart associates) they take you into a room tell you what you did wrong, make you sign a paper admitting you were wrong and you understand why you are being punished, they put you in the blue room (like solitary confinement closed off from everybody) and make you write a essay on why they should keep you as an employee of their fine facility. I graduate soon and i cannot wait to tell that whole building *mainly slave driving store manager to kiss my ass* wouldnt matter to him though because they have a lotta unsuspecting victoms waiting in line to gladly take my place. but as far as black friday goes the whole thing is a scam the crappy cheap stuff they wouldnt regulary carry gets brought in and over priced and displayed as a major sale item (probably found cheeper anywhere else) and we (associates) stand around guarding this stuff getting verbally abused and in some cases physically assulted by customers.Our safety is in danger by idiots that have to knock you over and snatch their sale before its time. Also dont think you are going to say anything to these people that are shouting profanitys at you like its your fault there were only 5 crappy tv's that were snatched up before they got one. Because walmart policy allows even customers to treat us like dogs THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. I almost lost my job when i first started because a woman came in one night and demanded i give her some money outta my register....i thought this was a joke so i giggled until she yelled at me to hand over 20 dollars. I told her where the door was she left (upset). Managment later informed me i could lose my job for not Complying with the customer. last time i checked attempting to rob a store automaticlly removes you from customer status. all i can say is if every walmart employee takes a stand there is a small chance for change but if its only a small number we all could easily be replaced... this is very sad to me.
Posted by achanceforchange on October 17, 2012 at 7:56 PM · Report this
I haven't been in a Walmart store since I heard about the strike and I will continue not shopping at any location. Someone in one of the comments said min wage is 9.00 an hour please where are you from? SC 7.25
Posted by babbysc on October 21, 2012 at 1:26 AM · Report this
You definitely have a right to demand more from your employer but you also have the right to find a better job that pays better. I mean if Whole Foods pays better go get a job there. I worked in grocery retail in the store for 10 years, those jobs require zero skills to be hired, so you really can move freely from company to company. IF Wal-Mart sees that it's hard to attract employees they'll have to offer more of an incentive which could be higher hourly pay. It's as simple as that.

They already have a bad reputation so I'm guessing they hire a lot of the people who are not hireable for whatever reason, and yes those kinds of folks do exist sadly. And if so Wal-Mart is doing a great service to us because those folks have a job and can be proud and also are not on another government program taking money (or as much money) out of the system.
Posted by Brockbaby on November 19, 2012 at 8:51 PM · Report this

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