A Walmart walkout planned for Black Friday is threatening to cripple the retailer on one of the year’s biggest shopping days as protests from angry workers grow nationwide.
The Walmart walkout plans stem from a worker strike that started in October in Los Angeles, CNN Money reported. It has since spread to 12 other cities as workers are upset about what they believe are violations of their rights.
The retailer has been accused of retaliating against employees who speak out for better pay, affordable health care, and fair schedules. This has led to union-backing groups OUR Walmart and Making Change at Wal-Mart to call on the nation’s largest employer to curtail the practices.
Walmart employees have also spoken out against the store extending Black Friday hours onto Thanksgiving evening.
“This essentially cancels Thanksgiving for hundreds of thousands of workers,” said Making Change at Walmart Director Dan Schlademan. “Lots and lots of Walmart workers are going to be forced to not have Thanksgiving because they’re going to be preparing all day for the busiest shopping day of the year.”
Protests are expected to culminate on Black Friday, when the Walmart walkout is expected to expand to include 1,000 protests, both at stores and online.
The size of the Walmart walkout itself wouldn’t matter, labor experts say. Just the optics of the worker protests on such an important shopping day would do immense damage, they say.
“Even if there aren’t that many people, it could have an effect, because their campaign in front of stores could discourage shoppers,” said Ken Margolies, senior associate at the Worker Institute a Cornell University.