Walmart workers are planning to walk out of stores around the country on Black Friday. Those workers are protesting the company’s choice to start Black Friday shopping sales at 8 pm on Thanksgiving Day. Now Walmart has filed a federal complaint against the planned strike.
According to Walmart, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and its subsidiary known as OURWalmart has been colluding with employees to plan walkouts, in-store flash mobs, and other events meant to disrupt Walmart’s biggest shopping day of the season.
While the UFCW represents over one million meat packers and food industry workers, they do not officially support Walmart workers.
It is not just OURWalmart organizing the events. Making Change at Wal-Mart, along with a watchdog group Corporate Action Network, are also speaking out against the company’s low wages, expensive health care, and other issues.
While the protests are meant to send a message to Walmart executives, company spokesman David Tovar says it is a “very small minority” of the company’s 1.3 million workers who will choose to walkout.
Walmart sent a letter to the UFCW claiming that its actions violate the National Labor Relations Act. That particular act prohibits picketing for any period over 30 days without filing a representation petition. In the letter, Walmart’s legal team writes:
“The UFCW has orchestrated numerous pickets, mass demonstrations, flash mobs and other confrontational activities both inside and outside Wal-Mart facilities in support of its bargaining and recognition demands. Now, with the busiest shopping season of the year just days away, the UFCW is openly orchestrating and promoting attempted mass disruptions of Wal-Mart’s customer shopping experience.”
With 1,000 events planned throughout the week ,OURWalmart is showing its increased ability to organize workers around a common goal. While Walmart may continue business as usual at most of its stores, its days of handing employees ultimatums without representation appear to be drawing to a close.
Walmart shares were down by 6 percent last week as news of the protests surfaced.