Walkouts, Protests Hit Walmart Nationwide on Biggest Shopping Day of the Year
By Yana Kunichoff, Truthout | Report – A lone worker walked out of a Walmart on the South Side of Chicago while two others skipped their Thanksgiving day shifts. A group of Dallas workers walked out after working through Thanksgiving Day. Los Angeles saw associates leave the store to rally with supporters. And they aren’t alone. At least forty-six other states saw similar actions, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
Despite the bitter cold in Chicago, about 200 people stood outside a Walmart early in the morning chanting: “Walmart Walmart, you’re no good, treat your workers like you should!” The protests aimed at the largest private employer in the world call on them to provide workers with a better working environment, the chance to set their hours, an end to retaliation and the freedom to organize.
The importance of the protest is not only in its numbers, but also in the opponent.
For people to have a sustainable income, “We have to change the type of jobs that are available in retail,” said Marc Goumbri, an international field organizer at UFCW. “What is going on at Walmart has to be addressed. The role that Walmart plays in the US economy is so huge that it is something that can’t be left the way it is.”
Days before Black Friday, Walmart filed an unfair labor practice suit against workers alleging that the protests were illegal. In Illinois and California, the company continued retaliations against and firings of workers attempting to organize at its warehouse.
Tyrone Robinson, the lone worker and protester from Chicago’s Walmart on the far south side of the city, estimates he earns about $15,000 a year doing produce management. One of the demands of the strikes is that workers be able to earn at least $25,000 a year if they work full time.
“My ends ain’t meeting,” he said. “My hours have gone down to about 30 hours a week, and I make $8.25.” More…