December 3, 2014
By Neal Tepel, LaborPress Publisher
New York, NY — This is the third year for Black Friday shoppers to find protesters at Walmart stores. Some of the largest demonstrations took place outside Walmart's in Chicago, Long Island, Washington D.C., as well in cities in New Jersey, California, Washington, and Texas.
At the store in East Meadow, Long Island, angry Walmart workers were joined by several hundred sympathizers to stage a Black Friday protest. The demonstrators held signs asking Walmart to pay a living wage. Protesters called for $15-an-hour salaries.
At a store in North Bergen, New Jersey, over 100 protesters marched around the parking lot carrying signs that read: “People who work deserve a living wage” and “Shame on Walmart.”
In D.C., a crowd estimated at 400 people assembled outside the Walmart store on H Street Northwest, calling on the retailer to commit to "$15 and full time" — and a full-time schedule for those who want it. One of OUR Walmart's top criticisms of the retailer is that part-time workers don't get enough hours.
Melinda Gaino, an employee at the store, said she would be missing three shifts this week while on strike. Gaino took part in a sit-down strike on Wednesday inside the H Street store, where she and other protesters sat on the floor with tape over their mouths, calling on Walmart to end what they called the silencing of workers.
In Sacramento, California over 300 supporters and workers protested outside the Rancho Cordova Walmart store and 35 Walmart protesters were arrested for blocking the intersection at Folsom Boulevard.
The Chicago Tribune reported that about 125 people picketed outside a Wal-mart store in Chicago’s West Loop on Friday morning November 28th, asking the retail giant to pay its workers $15 an hour.
It's the third year in a row that union-backed groups organized Black Friday protests at Walmart locations and the anti-Walmart movement is growing. This years Black Friday demonstrations on November 28th were planned in 1,600
stores across the country and thousands participated.
Walmart is the largest private employer in the world. The Walton family, who own a controlling stake in the company, has more wealth than 43 percent of Americans combined. Walmart has an annual profit of $16 billion.
The company costs American taxpayers $6.2 billion each year in public assistance for its poorly paid workers. At the same time that employees are underpaid and abused, Americas largest corporation earns millions by not paying taxes. Walmart avoids an average of $1 billion in taxes every year through loopholes.
Walmart's treatment of its employees is disgraceful. The company pays such low wages and meager benefits that many of its hourly associates are forced to rely on food stamps and Medicaid. Despite the huge profits, Walmart have
ignored the requests of store associates who are calling for living wages and full-time hours. This giant has consistently fired workers that speak out about abuses in their stores. Walmart's pattern of discrimination and disregard for labor laws has resulted in endless court cases and continual fines against the company.
This battle for human rights and equality is everyone's fight. The Walton family, the richest family in our country with $150 billion in wealth, has created a system to keep employees poor and the family rich. As the largest employer in the world it has set up a race to the bottom in the retail industry that even influences far away places. Walmart must be made to treat workers with respect and the abuses must be stopped.