Friday, November 23, 2012

WalMart Black Friday Strikes, Protests - Walton Heiress Issues Support

Mid-day, WalMart Black Friday Strikes, Walkouts, Protests update, November 23, 2012:
1:51 pm, from "1,000 Walmart protests across the US: An update on nationwide strikes and solidarity demonstrations" Protests began in 46 states on Thursday, Thanksgiving night.
(Los Angeles County Sheriff officers arrest clergyman at WalMart protest)
Picket in Duarte, Los Angeles County, California

Salon reported:
* Dozens of protesters supported strikers in Miami when they walked off the job last night.
* 500 workers and supporters marched on a Walmart in Landover, MD.
* Striking Chicago workers and their supporters marched on several Walmart stores in Illinois beginning at 5:30 a.m. Friday morning.
* Striking workers in Duarte, Calif. formed a picket lined up in front of their store.
* In Florida, U.S. Rep.-elect Alan Grayson walked a worker off her job Thursday night and then joined workers on the picket line Friday morning.
* Dozens protested with striking workers in San Leandro, Calif.
* Workers in Clovis and Albuquerque in New Mexico, walked off the job.
* In Lancaster, Texas, Dallas police ushered strikers off of Walmart property, but they continued their protest nearby.
* The walkout in Kenosha, Wisc. was amplified by a light show last night. And workers are now on strike in Milwaukee, Wisc.
* In Quincy, Mass. supporters projected a 30-foot “Stand Up, Live Better” message on facade of a Walmart supercenter. They distributed 650 flyers, 500 sets of handwarmers, and 300 “I support Walmart workers’ rights!” stickers to customers waiting in line, along with thank you cards for Associates.

1:14 pm, from America Blog: Billionaire Walmart heiress Alice Walton supports Black Friday strike

Alice Walton closed her art museum for Friday, November 23, out of respect for the strikers, and her Crystal Bridges Museum issued this statement:
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will close on Friday, November 23, out of respect for the Walmart workers engaging in Black Friday strikes, walkouts, and pickets. Alice Walton, Chair of the Board of Directors, also asks all Americans to stay home with their family rather than shop on Thanksgiving, so that Walmart workers do not have to report to work in the middle their Thanksgiving meals on this national holiday. The Museum will reopen on Saturday, November 24.

As Ms. Walton explained, “Since Black Friday is the unofficial start of the Christmas season, and this is the season of giving, I and the staff of Crystal Bridges have decided to stand with the workers of Walmart, the source of my family’s fortune, in their Black Friday strikes, walkouts, and pickets. I recognize this may come as a surprise to both Walmart workers and the American public. I have always assumed these hard-working men and women were being treated well, paid well, and being compensated with proper health benefits and vacation time. On this holiday, I give thanks for the fortune I inherited and for all the workers who earned it for me. They deserve to share its benefits. I was shocked to the point of disbelief when I first learned of the working conditions these decent Americans endure at the company that bears our family’s name. As a Walton, I cannot stomach the thought of our employees working for poverty wages, without sufficient healthcare, on a permanent part-time basis, or under threat of harassment, retaliation, or termination for organizing in their workplace. The workers of Walmart deserve better.”

“However, Walmart’s hostile battle against its own workers and their attempts to organize their workplace, improve working conditions, and earn a living wage, is not the only reason to stay home on Thanksgiving and on Black Friday. In the race to profit from cash-strapped deal-seekers desperate to save a buck, Walmart is now asking its employees to report to work in the middle of the Thanksgiving holiday in order to open stores that evening. This poor treatment of workers and crass commercialization of the holiday stamps ‘Black Friday’ with a whole new meaning: the black mark of shame.”

“Let us all stand in solidarity with these decent working Americans. Let us respect their struggle and their strike and not shop at Walmart on Black Friday, let alone on Thanksgiving day. In fact, let us not shop anywhere this holiday. I wish the entire nation a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.”
12:30 pm: The Nation: protest photos and video from Hanover, MD, outside Baltimore, Maryland: "Black Friday Live Blog: 400 picket, leaflet, mic check, and sing in Maryland" (Updated 2:15 PM)
400-some activists, union members, and striking Walmart workers marched down streets and through a shopping center parking lot this morning before being met by a Walmart manager, and police, across from Hanover, Maryland’s Capital Plaza Walmart at 10 AM . . . .
The Nation also posted a mic check video (posted at right) from the WalMart, one of the few in the metropolitan Washington, DC area:
The Capital Plaza Walmart is the closest of six stores in the Washington, DC suburbs; labor and progressives have so far been successful at keeping the store out of the city itself. Organizers said that 100 workers at those six stores have struck at least once this week; they said at least a dozen are on strike today, but some workers involved in unloading goods decided to participate in Monday's strike instead to have more of an impact.
11:18 am, from Huffington Post:

Never imagine you'd see Walmart workers striking against their employer? Now you can, using the Twitter hashtag "#walmartstrikers," a phrase accompanying many photos tweeted out by the protesters during the Black Friday protests.
Walmart doesn't appear overly concerned. In a Friday morning press release, the retail giant said planned protests haven't affected the company's Black Friday plans so far: "Only 26 protests occurred at stores last night and many of them did not include any Walmart associates,” Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and chief executive officer said in the release. “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."
The strikes are being organized by OUR Walmart, a labor group backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Check out some photos from Twitter below:
In Chicago, IL
In Boynton Beach, FL
In Lakewood, CO

Danbury, CT, 1:22 pm: "At Walmart, Black Friday gains, union protests"District 1199 health care workers arrived at southwest Connecticut WalMart locations to demand improved wages and benefits for WalMart employees.

Detroit Free Press: Scattered Walmart strikes don't dent Black Friday bottom line Despite protests across nine states, WalMart undented, undanuted.

7:43 am, Los Angeles Times: metropolitan Los Angeles, CA: "Unhappy Wal-Mart workers plan Black Friday rally in Paramount"

MOULTRIE, Ga, 1:44 pm. -- Walmart says no one was injured in a frenzy over a Black Friday deal at one of its stores in south Georgia.
One commenter:
I'm told there is no talk of strikes or protests among employees at all. Very sad. The working conditions are terrible. Everyone understands the unfairness. But the culture is such that there is no solidarity among among workers and a fundamental anti-unionism in the overall community of Northern Alabama. People are convinced here that unions are Socialist, even while they are being exploited by low wages, few hours, no benefits, and abusive managers. They won't speak up in Alabama, as far as I know.
In Kalamazoo, MI: Informational protests in southern Michigan city: The 11:47 am Michigan Live article, "Black Friday Walmart protest in Kalamazoo: OUR group says workers need better wages, benefits," opened:
A nationwide informational protest outside Walmart stores included about a dozen people carrying signs on Black Friday morning outside the Walmart store on 9th Street near West Main Street in Oshtemo Township.
“We’re protesting the unfair labor practices of Walmart,” explained Lee Holdridge, of Kalamazoo.
He said the mammoth retailer fails to pay its workers insurance benefits and that leaves them in need.
“Why should we subsidize Walmart with Food Stamps and welfare programs because its people can’t afford insurance?” he asked.
He said the local protesters represented OUR Walmart. The “OUR” stands for Organization United for Respect at Walmart.
According to its website, OUR Walmart “works to ensure that every associate (worker), regardless of his or her title, age, race, or sex, is respected at Walmart. We join together to offer strength and support in addressing the challenges that arise in our stores and our company every day.”
FoxNews: NLRB Evaluates WalMart complaint against protesters: "NLRB still evaluating Walmart complaint against protesters, as retailer calls Black Friday a success" MISCELLANEOUS BLACK FRIDAY MAYHEM: "Black Friday Shoppers Hit By Suspected Drunk Driver In Walmart Parking Lot" (VIDEO) (Covington, suburb of Seattle, Washington) ABC TV News: "Black Friday Walmart Protest for Concerned Pet Owners

No comments: