November 20, 2014
By Neal Tepel
Washington DC – Walmart workers across the country are planning strikes and rallies on Black Friday November 28th. Walmart employees will be joined by thousands of supporters planning protests and activities at 1600 locations nationwide. This large mobilization of Americans are calling on Walmart’s owners to raise wages to a minimum of $15 an hour.
The majority of Walmart workers are paid less than $25,000 a year. To date, workers at more than 2,100 Walmart stores nationwide have signed a petition calling on Walmart and the Waltons to publicly commit to paying a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Walmart pays the majority of associates poverty wages and manipulates their hours.
The Black Friday strikes and protest announcement comes on the heels of the first-ever sit down strikes in company history in Los Angeles, where workers demonstrated in Crenshaw and Pico Rivera stores, and 23 people were arrested. The group of striking workers, from stores throughout California, placed tape over their mouths signifying the company’s illegal efforts to silence workers who are calling for better jobs. Demonstrators held signs resembling those of the first retail sit-down strike at Woolworth in 1937, when workers at the then-largest retailer in the country called for the company to increase pay, provide a 40-hour work week and stop the retaliation against workers who spoke out.
“Walmart’s low pay business model isn’t working for our families, for our customers and for the company, but change is possible,” said Barbara Gertz, a Walmart associate from Colorado. “Walmart needs to listen to workers like us about how to fix these problems by adding hours and improving pay so that we can get the job done. Threatening and firing us for speaking out about how to improve the stores is illegal and shortsighted. That’s why I’m going on strike on Black Friday and why so many of my co-workers are joining me.”