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AFL-CIO Now

Walmart Strikes and Protests Hit 100 U.S. Cities

Photo courtesy of OUR Walmart's Flickr photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ourwalmart/

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.

Josh Eidelson of the Nation reports:

By 9 a.m. Friday, Walmart had already sent out a statement announcing its “best ever Black Friday events,” claiming that only fifty workers were on strike, and dismissing the action as a failure. Organizers accused Walmart of making up numbers, and noted that the company’s aggressive efforts to discourage participation undermined its supposed indifference.

The Black Friday strike came a year and a half after retail workers announced the founding of the new employee group OUR Walmart, five months after guest workers struck a Walmart seafood supplier and seven weeks after the country’s first-ever coordinated Walmart store strikes. Walmart striker Cindy Murray, a veteran of the last decade’s unsuccessful union-backed campaign against Walmart, said that after the 2008 election, “I was like, we have to do something different.” (Strikes at Walmart certainly qualify.) Murray said OUR Walmart has had greater success because workers saw it “as our organization,” as so they “finally said, maybe we can be saved. Maybe we can speak out.”

Read the rest of Eidelson's article, "With Biggest Strike Against Biggest Employer, Walmart Workers Make History Again."

Check out photo highlights on Tumblr from Walmart strikes and protests from around the country and view the Flickr slideshow below from OUR Walmart, a worker-led organization that stands up to make change in its company. 

 
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
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