Walmart employees strikes and protests

By on November 27, 2012

At dozens of Walmart stores across the country, employees and their supporters went on strike on Black Friday because of unfair wages, benefits, and treatment of employees at the world’s largest retailer.

Walmart employees have recently filed charges of unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relation Board (NLRB). Daniel Twieg/Photo Editor

Walmart’s decision to commence Black Friday sales at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening further incited the protests.

By 11 a.m. on Friday morning, the company announced that this year was their best Black Friday yet.

From 8 p.m. to 12 a.m., its stores rang up close to 10 million transactions or about 5,000 items per second.

“Only 26 protests occurred at stores Thursday night and many of them did not include any Walmart associates,” said Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. Chief Executive.

Walmart employees have recently filed more than 20 charges of unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The protesters demanded a minimum pay of $13/hr, more full-time work, and more affordable healthcare.

“We estimate that less than fifty associates participated in the protest nationwide. In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year,” Simon said.

The strike and protests were scheduled weeks prior to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Walmart began to organize an injunction to halt the protests, but federal labor officials stated there wasn’t enough time to make a decision on the injunction.

Wal-mart employees are not backed by an official labor union, but the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is supporting Walmart strikers.

The UFCW said protests have included “strikes, rallies, flash mobs, direct action and other efforts to inform customers about the illegal actions that Walmart has been taking against its workers.”

While millions of Americans stocked up on electronics, kitchen appliances and other Black Friday sale items, many of Walmart’s employees were forced to sacrifice their Thanksgiving dinner to work through the evening.

Kaylyn Alexander
Staff Writer
kaylyn@uab.edu

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