Walmart may face Black Friday strike

October 12, 2012 2:34:39 PM PDT
The Walmart labor protests, which have included walkouts and marches in Dallas, San Diego, Chicago and Los Angeles, may be escalating into a strike on Black Friday.

The day after Thanksgiving is widely considered the busiest and most lucrative retail day of the year.

Some 200 angry protesters showed up at a meeting of investors and analysts earlier Wednesday at Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. Under discussion at the meeting was Walmart's intent to go head-to-head with Amazon and offer same-day delivery. Walmart is the world's largest private employer and has long been a target of workers' rights groups, who advocate higher wages, more flexibility in hours and an end to the punishments (reduced shifts, for instance) they claim are meted out to workers seeking to unionize.

On a conference call Wednesday, leaders of Our Walmart, the National Consumers League and other labor groups said they will join Walmart workers outside stores on Black Friday if their demands are not met.

NOW president Terry O'Neill said her organization would join in the action on Black Friday, it was reported in the Guardian. "We are standing in solidarity with the workers who are walking off the job," said the National Organization of Women's president.

Last Thursday, about 30 employees from the Pico Rivera store, including Cruz, wielded signs that read "Stand Up, Live Better, Stop Retaliation" and "Stop Trying to Silence Us" and marched outside the store. At the same time, workers at eight other Walmart stores in California protested working conditions and treatment.

Walmart spokesman Dan Fogleman disputed the charges, claiming that most employees have "repeatedly rejected unionization.

"They seem to recognize that Walmart has some of the best jobs in the retail industry - good pay, affordable benefits and the chance for advancement," he said in a telephone interview with ABC News.

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