ONTD Political

Walmart Strikers Promise Huge Black Friday Showdown With 1,000 Protests Nationwide

2:50 pm - 11/16/2012
An organization of Walmart workers is planning a series of strikes next week that they hope will paralyze the world's largest retailer on the biggest shopping day of the year.

Employees will stage 1,000 unique protests around the country on Black Friday, a United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) official said on a conference call Thursday afternoon. The events, most of which will take place at Walmart stores, will include walkouts, flash mobs, and "educating" shoppers on the workers' plight.

"We're seeing unprecedented support. In my 20 years of organizing I've never seen this kind of activity," said Dan Schlademan, Director of the UFCW's Making Change at Walmart campaign. "It's going to be a very creative day."

The strikers' diverse complaints center around what they call Walmart's "retaliation" against workers' attempts to organize. The company, according to the strikers, punishes employees who talk about unions or join in labor groups by cutting their hours or finding excuses to terminate them. As the largest private employeer in America and the world, Walmart sets the standards for labor conditions in the retail industry.

The strikers' demands, however, are amorphous at best. Beyond ending its fight to prevent workers from forming unions all together, it's unclear exactly what Walmart could do to appease the disgruntled employees. Walmart has regularly referred to the strikes as "publicity stunts."

Some workers have already begun to strike. On Thursday, workers at a Walmart store in Seattle walked off the job. On Wednesday, workers at a San Leandro, Calif., store also went on strike, as did others employed at a Riverdale, Calif., warehouse contracted by Walmart. On Thursday, six supporters who were not themselves employed at the warehouse were arrested after they sat down in the middle of a road outside the building where workers were striking.

The strikes began in October, when, for the first time ever, Walmart retail workers walked off the job at 28 stores around the country. While those strikes were historic, they were hardly far-reaching -- about 160 people went on strike, a minuscule percentage of Walmart's 1.4 million U.S. workers. This time around, OUR Walmart, the UFCW-backed worker group that is organizing the strikes, is vowing to be more disruptive.

Over the past month, OUR Walmart has recruited more people through social media campaigns. Strikers are finding each other through the group's Facebook page and Twitter hashtag #walmartstrikers. An online platform also allows supporters to "sponsor" strikers by donating money.

According to Schlademan, many Black Friday events will also occur online, in addition to the 1000-some actions planned around the country. Workers are planning to strike in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Washington D.C., Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana and Minnesota, a UFCW official said on the call.

The call also included Walmart workers, who explained why they personally planned to strike. Charlene Fletcher, an employee from Duarte, Calif., choked up with tears as she told reporters how much she "wanted to stand up and make a sacrifice."

“No matter how hard we work, my husband and I can’t catch up on our bills," Fletcher said.

Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


mollywobbles867 17th-Nov-2012 03:51 am (UTC)
Awesome! I hope they're successful!
shadownlite 17th-Nov-2012 07:11 am (UTC)
squeeful 17th-Nov-2012 03:55 am (UTC)
xballroomblitz 17th-Nov-2012 03:56 am (UTC)
As an ex-Walmart worker of 4 years, I applaud them and wish them the best.
lainiest 17th-Nov-2012 03:59 am (UTC)
As a former Wal-Mart employee, my heart grew three sizes this day.
girlwonderrobin 17th-Nov-2012 06:13 am (UTC)
As did mine. Anti-union motherfuckers, I kinda hope they have to bend to the will of their workers. for once.
otana 17th-Nov-2012 04:13 am (UTC)
one_hoopy_frood 17th-Nov-2012 04:25 am (UTC)
Amazing! I will try my damnedest to be optimistic.
astridmyrna 17th-Nov-2012 04:26 am (UTC)

This will be epic, and I hope it shakes Walmart up a bit.
veracity 17th-Nov-2012 04:38 am (UTC)
I worked for 2 weeks, setting up a store, doing manual labor I couldn't do and I told the people that. So they offered me to work as cashier. I never said I didn't want to work in the department I was setting up. Simply that I couldn't finish setting up for the next couple weeks. I'm 5'1 and I couldn't lift the shelves that are taller than me and come in pairs. I couldn't even move when I got home every night after 8 hours. So I walked off. I was like, "you've lost your mind." I didn't come back after the lunch break.

So these workers? Awesome in my mind.
pinksta_r 17th-Nov-2012 04:40 am (UTC)
After seeing that Walmart documentary I hope they all go through with this!
ahria 17th-Nov-2012 03:47 pm (UTC)
Ooh, which one? I love a good documentry.
idemandjustice 17th-Nov-2012 04:49 am (UTC)
I'm really glad they're going to be doing this. I'm tempted to do something like bake goodies to bring and show my support.
kiri_l 17th-Nov-2012 06:15 am (UTC)
Hot coffee, chocolate and etc would be a good idea to bring with if you do. =)
lil_insanity 17th-Nov-2012 04:52 am (UTC)
Hooray for these people!
girlwonderrobin 17th-Nov-2012 06:16 am (UTC)
This is a company who believes sickness is no excuse for missing work. The only excused absences they have are jury duty and death in the family. Even with a doctor's note, they will still reprimand you.

I would know, trust me. They fired me because my tendonitis flared up and I had to miss one entire weekend.

So to see the trampled on workers rise up and say "we're done with this bullshit"? It makes me so happy. Especially considering that they turned hell day into a two day event by starting it on Thanksgiving night. And not allowing us any holidays to spend with our families, other than Christmas. I worked in a Supercenter, so we closed one day a year. Christmas Day.
shortsweetcynic 17th-Nov-2012 01:52 pm (UTC)
my husband worked as an overnight stocker for about a year. for a lot of that time he was working in dairy.

between the lack of sleep and hard work and constant temperature changes walking in and out of the cooler, he was constantly sick. like bad, totally debilitating, holed up in bed, can't function sick.

after he got...whatever their second warning is, some kind of sit down with a supervisor...because of time he was out sick from the work he was doing, i pretty much strongarmed him into quitting. the pay was shit, he kept being promised full time hours and scheduled at 32, there was no vacation or sick time or benefits of any kind, it was taking far more out of him than he was getting back and he was becoming this shell of his normal wonderful self, and it was heartbreaking to see.

and don't get me started on the black friday he had to work. when i found out they gave him a detachable vest to wear to manage the crowds, i didn't sleep a wink that whole night. (this was the year after someone was trampled and killed.)

anyway, said all this to say: they're awful, we shop there as infrequently as we can manage, and we're behind this 100%.
paksenarrion2 17th-Nov-2012 06:47 am (UTC)
I understand why some people need to shop there because it is the only place available for them or the only place they can afford but I have the luxury of being able to refuse to shop there. I do so because the company treats their workers so shitty.

I say good for them. And good luck.
romp 17th-Nov-2012 07:00 am (UTC)
Good. I don't think this should be limited to the US though. Maybe there could be a Boycott Walmart During December movement...although aren't most of the people who care already boycotting WalMart if they're able?
lanwut 17th-Nov-2012 07:17 am (UTC)
Yes! Go Walmartians go! As a former Walmartian who had to quit due to my back being terrible, and having to quit before I was fired for missing work due to my back, I say fuck yeah!!!
poisoncity 17th-Nov-2012 01:52 pm (UTC)
Go Wal-Mart people!

(My store - non WalMart - opens at 12am. ;/ I work the opening shift until 9AM /sob)
grimalkinrn 17th-Nov-2012 03:27 pm (UTC)
I've been boycotting Walmart for over a decade and these people make me so proud!!!!
myrrhmade 17th-Nov-2012 05:58 pm (UTC)
Same here.
ragnor144 17th-Nov-2012 04:12 pm (UTC)
If my local Walmart is included I will break my no-shopping-on-Black-Friday pledge to bring them hot foods (not Papa John's).
chargingkrogan 17th-Nov-2012 05:01 pm (UTC)
As a former Walmart employee-- midnights doing stocking, cashiering, electronics, back up CSM, essentially whatever they needed and being GRATEFUL for getting a steady 32 hours-- I will be pleased as punch if this makes any sort of impact. I hate that company with a flaming passion of a thousand exploding suns.
girlwonderrobin 17th-Nov-2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
When did you end your tenure in Hellmart? Mine ended in June and apparently it's gotten exponentially worse since my last day.
zeonchar 17th-Nov-2012 05:33 pm (UTC)
"...it's unclear exactly what Walmart could do to appease the disgruntled employees."

I don't know, how about not force them work on Thanksgiving and give them better hours, benefits, and wages overall?
girlwonderrobin 17th-Nov-2012 05:53 pm (UTC)
They always say that. The wages were actually okay, considering, I was making $9.20 an hour to do what I did. The benefits, for a full time worker? Well, I got around $4K of cushion from my 401K and my stock options a month after I was terminated. My HRA paid my doctor bills in full, and pretty much all of my prescription medication when I needed it. Cost out the asshole though. But the fact of the matter is that we have to put up with a massive amount of abuse and bullshit to deal with it, and they implement the dumbest policies.

Example: 2 years ago, I came back from my Halloween vacation, and found out we were completely scripted it what we had to say to customers. Including the line "it was a pleasure to serve you". I cannot tell you how many times all the women got yelled at for hitting on another woman's husband, and how many times the men got yelled at for getting fresh with another man's wife. And God forbid if it was the constant stream of perverts thinking "oh, she wants me" when that came out of the mouth.
emeraldus 18th-Nov-2012 06:23 am (UTC)
When I got hired on at Walmart they actually made you watch a video telling you how Walmart is a big ol' happy family and you don't really need outsiders, i.e. unions, telling your family what to do, do you?
girlwonderrobin 18th-Nov-2012 11:13 am (UTC)
You had to sit through the propaganda as well I see.

If that's a family I'd rather be aborted, just saying.
jojo342 18th-Nov-2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
Wal Mart is too big to fail! wait for it
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