Tens of thousands of Walmart workers plan to strike across the nation next week in hopes of paralyzing the world’s largest retailer on the biggest shopping day of the year.
Employees will hold over 1000 different protests throughout the U.S. on Black Friday, according to a United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). These will include walkouts, workers’ strikes, flash mobs, and education workshops to teach shoppers about the plight of Walmart workers.
Dan Schlademan, Director of the UFCW’s campaign released the following statement: “We’re seeing unprecedented support. In my 20 years of organizing I’ve never seen this kind of activity.”
The strikers’ various complaints mainly focus on Walmart’s retaliation against workers’ trying to organize, along with other forms of workplace discrimination. Employees report that the company penalizes employees who discuss unions or join labor groups by slashing their hours or finding excuses to fire them. According to Employment Law Attorneys at Emery Reddy, as the biggest employer in the world Walmart establishes standards for labor conditions throughout the retail industry.
Critics have argued that the strikers’ demands are vague at best. An article on Huffington Post claimed that “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.” And Walmart itself has called the plan of strikers a “publicity stunt.”
Seeking Workers Benefits
In some regions, the strikes are already underway. On Thursday, employees in Seattle walked off the job. Walmart employees in several California stores also began to strike, and six workers’ rights advocates — not employees of Walmart themselves — were arrested after sitting in the road outside a store to block traffic.
Walmart strikes started back in October: for the first time in Walmart’s history, retail workers simultaneously walked off the job at 28 stores around the country. At at 30 different stores across the U.S.
Yet despite the groundbraking nature of the strikes, they remained fairly limited in scope, including only 160 people – a tiny fraction of the 1.4 million workers Walmart employs in the U.S. In this next round, OUR Walmart (Organization United for Respect) pledges to create widespread disruption.
In the past month along, OUR Walmart has been rapidly recruiting workers through social media campaigns. Strikers are connecting with each other on the organization’s Facebook page and Twitter account #walmartstrikers. A website also lets members of the general public “sponsor” strikers through donations.
In an interview with reporters, one worker explained why she decided to go on strike. Charlene Fletcher, a California Walmart employee, welled up with tears while telling reporters how important it was for her ” 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.
Labor & Industries Attorneys
The employment and workers’ compensation attorneys at Emery Reddy are committed advocates of employees throughout the Puget Sound region. If you have experienced illegal employment practices, including wrongful termination, a wage dispute, or work issues involving FMLA or ADA—the workplace discrimination attorneys at Emery Reddy will defend your rights and help you recover the maximum compensation for your case.