Across the United States in 100 cities, Walmart employees, union members and supporters came together to speak out against the largest employer in the world on Black Friday. More than 1,000 protests were held by Walmart workers and community activists who spoke out about poor working conditions, low wages, irregular hours and more. This year, many large retail chains began Black Friday sales on Thursday evening, forcing workers to miss out on the Thanksgiving holiday with their friends and families.
Berry Craig, recording secretary for the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and a professor of history at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, is a former daily newspaper and Associated Press columnist and currently a member of AFT Local 1360. Craig sends us this follow-up to his Nov. 21 story.
The manager at the Southside Walmart in Paducah, Ky., might have figured he’d quashed the protest at his store. After all, he made James Vetato and three other OUR Walmart picketers leave from near the front door.
The quartet retreated but regrouped at the entrance road to the busy shopping center the Walmart store anchors.
Walmart workers around the country are mobilizing for a “Black Friday” strike to protest working conditions, wages and retaliation against workers who speak out. Last week, workers and their allies at a Walmart warehouse picketed and rallied in front of the Riverside County, Calif., facility following last Wednesday’s strike by some two dozen warehouse workers.
Berry Craig, recording secretary for the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and a professor of history at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, is a former daily newspaper and Associated Press columnist and currently a member of AFT Local 1360. Craig sends us this.
James Vetato planned to spend Black Friday wearing out shoe leather on a picket line at the Southside Walmart in Paducah, Ky.
"Now I'll be there Thanksgiving night, too," Vetato said. "Walmart has announced it will be open at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night, which will prevent a lot of the associates from spending the holiday with their families.”
Walmart warehouse workers in Mira Loma, Calif., launched a strike Wednesday morning to protest management retaliation against the workers over their September strike, speaking out about unsafe working conditions. Meanwhile, Walmart store workers around the country are making plans to spotlight Walmart’s abuse with a Black Friday/Thursday walkout.
Workers at Walmart are continuing their actions to win respect and bring change to Walmart , with a demonstration today outside Walmart’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters and with strikes yesterday by workers at stores in Dallas; Seattle; Miami; Sacramento, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; and in the Chicago and Washington areas.
Colby Harris, who earns $8.90 an hour after three years working at a Walmart in Lancaster, Texas, told The New York Times:
We’re protesting because we want better working conditions and better wages and because we want them to stop retaliating against associates who exercise their right to talk about what’s going on in their stores.
For the first time in history, Wal-Mart workers have gone on strike. Workers participating in the one-day strike at several Southern California stores say they are striking to protest attempts by Wal-Mart to silence and retaliate against associates who speak out about working conditions, low-pay, lack of respect and other issues that plague workers at the notorious anti-union retail giant.
While the striking workers are not union members, they have joined together in OUR Wal-Mart, a worker-led organization that stands up to make change in its company.