Last year on Black Friday, the largest shopping day of the year, activist group OUR Walmart organized a large protest of retail super-chain Walmart. Participants included store employees and supporters alike and protested at over 1,000 store locations. This year, OUR Walmart has planned on more.
The Walmart employee activist group planned on upping the store protests from 1,000 to 1,500 stores this year in what it calls the “largest mobilization of working families in recent history.” The Nation reported that Walmart is “clearly nervous” this year because the chain requested for judges in two states to ban protesters from gaining entry to the stores.
“Workers are calling for an end to illegal retaliation, and for Walmart to publicly commit to improving labor standards, such as providing workers with more full time work and $25,000 a year,” according to an OUR Walmart statement. “As the country’s largest retailer and employer, Walmart makes more than $17 billion in profits, with the wealth of the Walton family totaling over $144.7 billion – equal to that of 42 percent of Americans.”
For the last two years, protesters and Walmart employees fed up with low wages and shoddy work schedules have been striking outside of stores to demand that Walmart better compensate its workers. And these protesters have progressively been increasing their efforts.
The group has planned protests in some of America’s largest cities, with protests set in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Miami, and Washington D.C., among many more.
Walmart currently has over 4,800 locations in the United States, and last Black Friday was their most financially successful and profited over $17 billion for the entirety of 2012. However, Walmart’s monstrous size doesn’t intimidate Walmart employee advocacy groups.
“We do expect [the protests] to be larger than last year because we have so many more members and so much more community support,” said Dan Schadelman, campaign director for employee advocacy group Making a Change at Walmart. “We’re at an exciting moment, the movement of low-wage workers has taken off in 2013.”
Joshua de Leon is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.