The threat of worker unrest could cause havoc for Walmart’s Black Friday push next week.
Quasi-union OUR Walmart is planning a number of strikes and protests aimed at disrupting the company’s operations during America’s busiest shopping weekend.
The first action began yesterday, The Guardian reports, with “at least” 30 workers walking out of Seattle-based Walmart warehouses. Their grievances concern allegations of low pay, reduced hours and undue punishments for those who walk out.
"I work full time at the richest company in the world," Walmart worker Sara Gilbert stated, adding that she makes just $14,000 a year and has to rely on food stamps and benefits to feed her family.
Over a thousand separate demonstrations are planned throughout next week. Planned action includes walk-outs, leafleting and flash mobs. Confirmed locations to date include Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Washington DC.
Making Change at Walmart’s Dan Schlademan added: "You are going to see unprecedented activity starting now and going into the holiday season. This is going to continue this year and next year.”
Walmart has been dogged by demonstrations, strikes and controversy over the last year, though the company insists that the widespread action does not represent the views of the majority of its workers.
"There have been a very small number of associates raising concerns about their jobs," Walmart spokesman Steve Restivo insisted.
"When our associates bring forward concerns, we listen. Associates have direct lines of communication with their management team and we work to understand their concerns."