Walmart protests are reportedly raging across the US today, on Black Friday, as the notoriously anti-union company sees its first high-profile worker walkout make headlines and gain traction.
The Walmart protests come at a time where the retailer is under scrutiny from both workers’ groups and shoppers alike, many who feel that the company’s policies create an unfriendly environment for employees with little in the way of sick leave, health benefits and a wage that most full-time workers remain unable to live on in most areas of the US.
Today’s Walmart protests are another front emerging in the battle between workers’ rights and anti-labor forces, but as the protests gained steam, Walmart’s CEO Bill Simon tried to downplay the scope of the Walmart backlash on retail’s big day:
“We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide. In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year.”
But Dallas Walmart worker and organizer Janna Pea told CNN that 40 workers at her Walmart alone had participated, and that even shoppers were siding with impoverished Walmart protestors who had walked off their job and braved the company’s notorious union-busting tactics:
“We were still able to talk to customers and educate them about what was going on … We saw one person who was planning to go shopping, but then didn’t end up going in. Instead, they rallied with us.”
Another Walmart protest organizer in Miami reported that 70 workers at his store participated, with the two locations combined contradicting Walmart’s claims of very low participation among disgruntled workers.
Do you think the Walmart protests are a fight for fair conditions, or should striking workers be happy they have jobs at all?