Wal-Mart employees protest for higher wages on Black Friday

For the third year in a row, Wal-Mart employees went on strike on Black Friday calling for higher wages and fairer working conditions.1 Despite fears of retaliations against workers who participated in the protests, some 1,600 stores were affected, with the protests including among others a 24-hour fast2, sit-ins and even some arrests.3 Black Friday is the biggest shopping day in the US, with some 22 million customers having shopped at Wal-Mart this year’s Black Friday alone.4
Wal-Mart has been repeatedly accused of making its workers dependent on welfare from the state as many are employed under 28-hours contracts which do not suffice to make for a living.5 Aggravatingly, Wal-Mart had recently announced to cut its health benefits for employees working less than 30 hours a week6, with most of its workforce staying below that threshold.
In a statement on the Black Friday protests provided by Wal-Mart, Brooke Buchanan, the Senior Director for Corporate Communications states that “Perception is never reality with labor unions. The crowds are mostly made up of paid union demonstrators and they do not represent our 1.3 million associates who do work for Walmart in the US.”7

  1. CNN Money (2014): http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/28/news/companies/walmart-black-friday-protests/ (accessed 02/12/2014) []
  2. Think Progress (2014): http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/11/26/3597311/walmart-fast/ (accessed 02/12/2014) []
  3. Daily Mail (2014): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2853429/Thousands-Walmart-workers-protest-against-low-wages-massive-Black-Friday-strike.html (accessed 02/12/2014) []
  4. Wal-Mart (2014): http://news.walmart.com/news-archive/2014/11/28/walmart-statement-on-2014-early-black-friday-results (accessed 02/12/2014) []
  5. Think Progress(2014):http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/11/26/3597311/walmart-fast (accessed 02/12/2014) []
  6. Bloomberg (2014): http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-07/wal-mart-will-cut-health-benefits-to-some-part-time-employees.html (accessed 03/12/2014) []
  7. Wal-Mart (2014): http://news.walmart.com/news-archive/2014/11/28/walmart-statement-on-black-friday-union-demonstrations (accessed 02/12/2014) []