ONTD Political

Wal-Mart files legal complaint against growing protests ahead of Black Friday

12:58 pm - 11/20/2012
Wal-Mart is taking legal action against its organized labor opponents, filing an unfair labor practice charge over widespread protests at its stores across the country — as well as rallies planned for Black Friday, considered the biggest shopping day of the year.

The company filed a complaint on Friday against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, claiming the labor union — one of the nation's largest — has unlawfully disrupted business by staging protests at Wal-Mart's stores and warehouses around the country over the past six months.

The retail giant, which has roughly 1.3 million U.S. workers, is asking the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for an injunction against the rallies and pickets — even flash mobs — that have sprung up at stores nationwide, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"We are taking this action now because we cannot allow the UFCW to continue to intentionally seek to create an environment that could directly and adversely impact our customers and associates," Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said in a statement obtained by Reuters. "If they do, they will be held accountable."

NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland said federal officials will decide quickly whether the complaint has merit and noted that, by statute, the agency must make a charge of illegal picketing a priority before all other cases.

The agency, she said, just decided two main issues: whether workers are picketing and if so, whether the picketing intended to unionize workers.

"This is a complicated case," Cleeland told The Associated Press, adding that if the labor board decides Wal-Mart's complaint has merit, the matter would then go to district court.

Wal-Mart workers protesting their employer complain of low wages, poor working conditions and inadequate health benefits, among other grievances. "Making Change," A Facebook page devoted to the protests, had more than 29,000 followers as of Monday afternoon.

Wal-Mart employees began walking off the job last week week ahead of Black Friday, when three union-backed groups expect thousands of protests nationwide.

"Wal-Mart is doing everything in its power to attempt to silence our voice," said Colby Harris, who works at a Wal-Mart store in Lancaster, Texas. "But nothing — not even this baseless unfair labor practice charge — will stop us from speaking out."

In October, a strike at a Wal-Mart store in Los Angeles spread to stores in 12 other cities, with local and national leaders holding protests at more than 200 stores for better pay, fairer schedules and more affordable health care. Since that time, workers have since walked off the job in Dallas and Richmond, Calif., and other upcoming strikes and protests are expected at stores in Chicago, Miami, Milwaukee and Washington, D.C.

Charlene Fletcher, who works with her husband, William, at a Wal-Mart in Duarte, Calif., became enraged when she learned that both were scheduled to work on Thanksgiving, missing the holiday with their children, ages 2 and 5.

“It’s heartbreaking to miss the holiday with them, and it’s just one more way that Wal-Mart is showing its disregard for our families,” Fletcher said in a statement. “But when our co-workers speak out about problems like these, Wal-Mart turns their schedules upside down, cuts their hours and even fires people. We’re going on strike for an end to Wal-Mart’s attempts to silence its workers.”

Three groups — Making Change at Walmart, OUR Walmart and watchdog group Corporate Action Network — are now calling on the nation’s largest employer to end what they claim are retaliatory tactics against employees who seek out better working conditions.

In a statement to FoxNews.com, Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman characterized the movement as "another exaggerated publicity campaign aimed at generating headlines to mislead" customers and employees.

"We have a great group of associates at Wal-Mart," Fogleman said. "We’ll have more than one million associates working throughout the holiday weekend, and they’re excited about our Black Friday plans this year. This is the Super Bowl for retailers, and we’re ready.

"We’ve been working on our Black Friday plans for almost a year now and we’re prepared to have a great event. Our associates care about providing a great customer experience on Black Friday, and we’re confident that’s what customers will have at Wal-Mart this year."

Some of the nation's other large retailers, meanwhile, have announced earlier hours on Thanksgiving to capitalize on the shopping-heavy holiday weekend.

Like Wal-Mart, Sears will open at 8 p.m. Thursday, while Target will open at 9 p.m. That’s two hours earlier than last year for Wal-Mart and three hours earlier for Target. Sears was closed last Thanksgiving, the Arizona Republic reports.

“I won’t participate in Greed Thursday’s openings,” Donna Forry posted on AZCentral.com's Facebook page. “Keep it Black Friday.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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chaya 20th-Nov-2012 09:50 pm (UTC)
Would you unlock this?
geiselle 21st-Nov-2012 12:06 am (UTC)
Done! Sorry about that.
halfshellvenus 20th-Nov-2012 09:54 pm (UTC)
This is becoming incredibly widespread.

While it might be fun for some shoppers to buy stuff on Thursday, it is NOT fun for the store's employees, and I also can't imagine that it makes that much of a difference to the store's net retail.

Let your employees have the damn day off. Walmart, especially, abuses them enough the rest of the year, for crying out loud.

And individual shoppers can help the cause by simply not rewarding stores that eat into their employees' time this way. Don't shop on Thursday. Let a bad idea die from lack of interest.
redstar826 20th-Nov-2012 10:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, and it's scary how quickly it has changed for some retailers. The mall I used to work for as recently as 2006 opened at 8 am on Black Friday. Last year it was midnight. This year they are opening at 9 pm.
redstar826 20th-Nov-2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
We’ll have more than one million associates working throughout the holiday weekend, and they’re excited about our Black Friday plans this year.

LOL I highly doubt that. In my experience, the vast majority of retail workers dread the holiday season and absolutely loath Black Friday, especially if they have the misfortune of working a shift at a time when they would much rather be sleeping.

mollywobbles867 20th-Nov-2012 11:16 pm (UTC)
Ngl, when I worked at Sears part of my decision to quit a few weeks into the semester (it had been a summer job) was the prospect of working Thanksgiving and Xmas. Working on July 4th had been awful enough. Mostly, though, my classes were too demanding and I was economically able to not work.

Edited at 2012-11-20 11:17 pm (UTC)
belleweather 20th-Nov-2012 10:13 pm (UTC)
I love that they're calling it "greed Thursday".
tabaqui 20th-Nov-2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
As much as it pisses me off that W-M is doing this - and that countless stores are opening on THURSDAY for this crap, it makes me even more mad that so many people will literally camp out and *trample each other* for 'bargins'. It's grotesque.

W-M needs to stfu and pay a decent wage, including health care, and stop screwing with schedules and safety, and people in general need to stop being so damn greedy.
cindyanne1 20th-Nov-2012 10:30 pm (UTC)
This, omg.
sio 20th-Nov-2012 10:27 pm (UTC)
no they are "not excited", you fuckwit. they're loathing it.

you could have stayed closed on Thanksgiving like you USED to. ALL stores need to stay closed on Thanksgiving. people can stay the fuck home and eat their turkey.
veracity 20th-Nov-2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
Even the grocery stores are closed half a day or so.
phoenix_san 20th-Nov-2012 10:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, the employees are "excited." I'm working fifteen hours and on Thanksgiving evening and I just can't wait.
juel1979 21st-Nov-2012 01:00 am (UTC)
Reminds me of meeting most of my inlaws for the first time on like 2 hours sleep after overnight stocking. We'd have been out earlier, however, if some douche hadn't decided to try to steal a handful of DVDs and we were stuck searching for an hour trying to find them.
nitasee 20th-Nov-2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
The only thing that will change this crap is if enough customers boycott shopping on Thursday - and the early hours on Friday. Sadly, I doubt that will happen because the stores advertise extreme low prices for those days to draw people in - and far too many people dive for those deals either because of budgets or just plain jonesing for a deal.

nitasee 20th-Nov-2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
Just an aside to this...You know how certain parties keep pissing and moaning about a war on Christmas? All I think of with these vicious store hours and the idiots in pursuit of bargains and shopping, shopping, shopping$$$ is that there doesn't need to be a war on Christmas (as if there ever really was), because the so called Christians and merchandisers are doing a damn good job of undermining the meaning of the holiday all by themselves. Let's face it, they've ruined the holiday by turning it into one long season of shopping opportunities.
nicosian 20th-Nov-2012 11:40 pm (UTC)
this. people threw a massive butthurt that the holiday was getting STOLEN and baby jeebus would be sad if shops opted to wait a bit before playing holiday music.

Is anyone, in the history of western christian society, caught unawares by christmas so much that 1/6th of the year is hyped for it? And breaking it down, that's one week of the month. Its mindboggling how grabby the holiday is.
ultraelectric 20th-Nov-2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
The sad thing is, until society as a whole stops lining up for Black Friday, nothings going to change. Hopefully, Wal-Mart and Target send a wide message to the mass populace that think this day is great.

I'm working my first Black Friday ever and I'm nervous. I have to work a 12 Hour shift, something I've never done before :/ We open 8PM Thanksgiving but my manager took the night shift with another chick.

And "excited"? Who are you talking to? CEOs who'll make bank? Everyone I know is not excited for this, including a few managers. Everyone has to go into overdrive. Plus, stock. OMG our stupid upper management never sent us more of an item that we barely have any of and it's going to be ridiculously cheap Black Friday. :/
juel1979 21st-Nov-2012 01:02 am (UTC)
It's really not that terrible. People aren't ALL monsters on Black Friday. The ones who do it regularly and know how to behave are pretty cool. Is your work place doing a potluck or buying food? Every retailer I worked at, we either brought in all kinds of goodies, or they got us subs or pizza or something, so we got a good meal (and snacks we could sneak in and grab when we had a minute) while working so long.
ultraelectric 20th-Nov-2012 10:49 pm (UTC)
Ugh, something on my FB just popped up a meme and it shows soldiers and says "Wal-Mart employees tell me again how working on thanksgiving is ruining your holiday".

That pisses me off.
nitasee 20th-Nov-2012 11:00 pm (UTC)
These things are not equal. Soldiers being away from their family during the holidays is pretty rotten. However, working at Walmart on Thanksgiving isn't like being a soldier (even if it feels like it). You aren't defending your country. You're working crappy hours so a big corporation can make buckets of money...on a holiday. Unless those soldiers are fighting for the right of corporations to make money, there is no equivalency.

I might add that there are lots of doctors and nurses, police, firemen, and numerous others who work in the holiday. But that's a need. Unlike shopping.
mollywobbles867 20th-Nov-2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
Ugh. I wish there was an alternative around here to WalMart, but it's the cheapest place I can find groceries. Bi-Lo is anything BUT low, even with a bonus card. Target has groceries now. I haven't really checked out their prices in comparison. But, they don't have as wide of a selection.

tl;dr I hate myself for shopping at WalMart.
nicosian 20th-Nov-2012 11:37 pm (UTC)
Ugh, retail at the lead up to christmas and boxing day here? I'd rather take a shovel to the head than ever do that crap again. It became at our dept store a death spiral competition with the one across the way. they opened at 8, we opened at 730 and down it went. at one point I was pulling 70 hour weeks, leaving at 11pm, get home at midnight have to be back to open the store for 6 am so people could have their shopping holiday freakouts and yell at me for not being "in the spirit."

fuck that noise. We don't have black friday ( yet) we do have boxing day, but I refuse to ever set foot in a mall dec 15-jan 15. its not worth it.

I get that businesses gotta biz, but at what expense to employees? aren't the missed thanksgivings and tramplings just too much? I think so.
angry_chick 20th-Nov-2012 11:49 pm (UTC)
What are you thankful for? Beating the shit out of this person that had their hand on this TV that I wanted.

Christmas cheer? Hell no, fuckers, I got MINE!
chargingkrogan 21st-Nov-2012 12:21 am (UTC)
I am so fucking glad I don't work at Wal-mart any more. I worked nights there for two and a half years, and it was literal hell. Awful pay, even with the shift premium, and we were expected to do more by FAR than the majority of the day crew. And we NEVER got holiday offs. We aboslutely HAD to work Thursday going into Friday on Thanksgiving. We got Christmas Eve off, since the store closed at 6 PM that day (though we worked until seven in the morning that day, technically speaking, and had to sleep SOMETIME so even then it wasn't really like a day off) and we HAD to work Christmas day going into the morning after. It's disgusting how not only retailers, but consumers feel like they're entitled to retail workers' time and energy. We have families too, fucking hell. :/

Of course, now I work for a bank so I get all the government holidays off, though my girlfriend now works at Kohl's, and will be working 10 pm Thursday night until 7 am Friday morning (my old normal shift when I worked at Wal-mart). But I will never, ever participate in Black Thursday/Friday simply on principle.
juel1979 21st-Nov-2012 01:09 am (UTC)
We had night vs day wars at Toys R Us as well, when I worked there ten years ago. God the mess they'd leave things in. At least I knew I was making really decent money for the time, mostly due to the area. I also really liked my section and helping people when I got the chance to. I had no prob trading helping people for "leave me alone with a radio and my 1500 boxes, or whatever the count is." LOL

When my husband was still in retail and I was out, I drove him in on the crazy days like Black Friday, so he didn't have to deal with driving in the shit and parking. One cool thing, though, when we both had to work it, he stopped at Target the Wednesday before, and talked them into giving him the BF deal for the Nintendo DS back then. "It's my wife's birthday and we're both working retail and can't make it in, can you cut me a break?" and they did. LOL
celtic_thistle 21st-Nov-2012 01:09 am (UTC)
There are protests planned for seriously like 1000 stores nation-wide. I'm considering joining to the one near me. Wal-Mart is fucking AWFUL and they need to pull their heads out of their greedy asses; people aren't "excited" to have their fucking Thanksgiving ruined so they can come in and accommodate the ridiculous greed of consumers and CEOs alike. Fuck that shit. Go, Wal-Mart strikers, go!
juel1979 21st-Nov-2012 01:09 am (UTC)
I find it funny people are only getting up in arms about it this year, when Walmart has been open on Thanksgiving for a long time now, and Kmart has done it since I was a kid. Is it cause other stores are following suit?
simply_blah 21st-Nov-2012 01:29 am (UTC)
Define long time now because in my local area, Wal-Mart being open on Thanksgiving only started last year.
mirhanda 21st-Nov-2012 01:21 am (UTC)
Our associates care about providing a great customer experience

I'm pretty sure this is a big, fat lie. I've never seen a Walmart associate who seemed to give a crap about the customer experience. And for those wages, who could blame them?
girlwonderrobin 21st-Nov-2012 12:01 pm (UTC)
I'll tell you personally, I cared, but I cared because my customers didn't need my bad day taken out on them, and I wanted to be professional about it. They deserved my absolute best attitude, always, it wasn't their fault that the company was so fucked up.

Now does Walmart appreciate that? Not one fucking bit.
ennifer_jay 21st-Nov-2012 01:31 am (UTC)
Capitalism is so gross, ugh. I've opened on Black Friday at Kohl's for the past five years, and this is the first time I'm closing. My new Kohl's (I just transferred) actually let us sign up for which shift we would prefer! LOL as if my old Kohl's would do that. My old Kohl's is the same Kohl's that is scheduling all associates for 12 hour shifts for the second year in a row.

ETA: My coworkers at my old Kohl's have actually been contemplating a walkout. Of course this happens after I leave ;_;

Edited at 2012-11-21 01:32 am (UTC)
juel1979 21st-Nov-2012 02:33 am (UTC)
Most of the places I worked at were super accommodating when it came to schedules, as best they could, and they let us shift swap if need be, which was nice. The last post-Thanksgiving weekend I worked, I managed to not have to do Friday (my brother doesn't always have the actual day off, so we do Thanksgiving that Friday, and that was that year. I was told to do Saturday instead). Places that have people work things like this, where there is chaos or general "yeah, none of us want to be here" feeling need to really do their best to accommodate their workers and treat them, even if it's just breakroom snack organization. It helps with the customer service for them, and makes the worker feel appreciated.
ebay313 21st-Nov-2012 02:01 am (UTC)
I wish I understood labor and union laws better. Anyone here have a good understanding who can explain what is legal or not as it relates to this and/or have some links to places that explain this stuff?
juel1979 21st-Nov-2012 02:33 am (UTC)
Walmart isn't unionized.
seasight 21st-Nov-2012 02:21 am (UTC)
I used to work retail and what kills me is that you can get MUCH BETTER deals on a regular sale day (at my store, anyways) than you do on Black Friday. People were making a killing compared to the Black Friday sale. \o/
juel1979 21st-Nov-2012 02:34 am (UTC)
Oh man, my discount was terrible compared to the sales. I only ever bought with my discount if I needed one thing, or it never went on sale anyway.

The Toys R Us discount, though, OMG. I loved employee shop night. Last time I did one, I spent like $300. LOL
castalianspring 21st-Nov-2012 03:25 am (UTC)
I'm really hoping this backfires on them, and all the stores trying to push Black Friday to Thursday. Even my parents, who LOVE post-holiday shopping and have for my entire life, are thinking of abstaining completely this year because they don't like all this. Add in the convenience of being able to get deals online now and you may see people stop going out at all.
foureyedgirl 21st-Nov-2012 03:27 am (UTC)
I fucking hate capitalism. I got a seasonal job at Target. So I'm working 8:30-1:30 am on Thanksgiving, and then have to be back at 10 am Friday morning. As if I need another reason to kill myself. I hope I can just make it through somehow.
shortsweetcynic 21st-Nov-2012 11:40 am (UTC)
As if I need another reason to kill myself.

:( i sincerely hope this is hyperbole.
oceandezignz 21st-Nov-2012 06:38 am (UTC)
I am in awe that retailers and people are LINING UP FOR THIS SHIT considering the fact that people get STABBED and SHOT and ROBBED and just all around FUCKED UP like whoa on Black Friday.

I work at Legoland in CA. Last year I watched a grown ADULT MALE punch a CHILD for a Lego set he had in his hands. Sadly he was also a SHOPLIFTER and ran like fuck out of the park via the secondary entrance/exit in that area of the park. I was too slow to catch him and there were too many guests around for me to even try.

If I was a BF shopper before, that would have ended me. But my mother (and my prior years of being a mall employee) trained me that the shit was never worth it because retailers ALWAYS HAVE DEALS. ALWAYS.
antique_faery 21st-Nov-2012 03:26 pm (UTC)
JFC.... That is so fucking awful. That poor kid! I hate people. They're awful. Of course they'd be up for this crap.
mskye 21st-Nov-2012 06:52 am (UTC)
Isn't Wal-Mart the same store where an employee was literally trampled to death on Black Friday?

(the answer is yes)
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