Walmart Workers Begin Black Friday Protests

| by Michael Allen

Black Friday is usually welcomed by retailers, but Walmart may not like what's coming.

Strikes and protests aimed at disrupting Walmart during next week’s Black Friday began today with a walkout by 30 workers from six different Seattle-area Walmart stores, reports The Guardian.

The 30 workers are part of OUR Wal-Mart group and have gone on strike because of low pay, too few hours and retaliation by managers against workers who speak out. Last month OUR Walmart group helped organize strikes at 12 stores.

In response, Walmart spokesman Steve Restivo told The Guardian: "There have been a very small number of associates raising concerns about their jobs. When our associates bring forward concerns, we listen. Associates have direct lines of communication with their management team and we work to understand their concerns."

More than a thousand demonstrations ranging from walkouts to flash mobs are planned in Walmart stores in Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Washington D.C.

Dan Schlademan, director of Making Change at Walmart, which is helping organize the effort, told The Guardian: “You are going to see unprecedented activity starting now and going into the holiday season. This is going to continue this year and next year.”

Another strike has hit part of Walmart’s warehouse supply chain in Mira Loma, California. About 30 workers held a picket outside a huge warehouse, claiming that previous strikers had been fired or had their hours reduced.

Javier Rodriguez, a forklift driver at the warehouse, said: “This is the form of retaliation that they use for me. It makes it hard to earn enough to feed my family and run my car."