Labor  
comments_image Comments

Solidarity! Walmart Workers’ Black Friday Strike Gets Backup from Credo

Support for workers grows as the world's largest retailer launches intimidation campaign.
 
 
Share

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

 

Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, is just around the corner. But Walmart employees are planning to strike across the country and disrupt business as usual.

Workers have had it with low wages, crappy benefits, unreliable work schedules, and being forced to live on food stamps and Medicaid to survive. And they have been making their feelings known in protest actions during recent months. They are also sick and tired of retaliation and intimidation from management. On Wednesday, a former Walmart worker found himself handcuffed when he tried to talk to employees about the Black Friday strike.

Instead of moving toward the enhancement of the workplace, the motivation of hard-working employees and supporting fairness and safety on the job, Walmart has persistently threatened activists, intimidated workers and set its powerful muscle against any attempt on the part of employees to challenge the status quo. Walmart’s response to the Black Friday strikes is to kick off shopping earlier this year, opening stores at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day. Americans are invited to rush from the family table and avoid the strikes.

Credo Action, a network of progressive activists born out of virtual network operator Credo Mobile, has announced its solidarity with Walmart workers by starting a campaign to pressure board chairman Rob Walton to meet with striking workers and hear their demands for better pay and decent working conditions. So far, Credo's petition has gathered by over 80,000 signatures

Becky Bond, political director of Credo Action, released a statement explaining her organization’s position on the giant retailer’s refusal to respect its employees:

"Credo activists across the country have the backs of Walmart's striking workers. While Walmart rakes in billions in profits, many of their employees are fighting for better working conditions and fair wages. There's absolutely no excuse for the nation's largest retailer to treat their employees this way. Rob Walton should meet with the striking workers immediately."

The Walmart strikes matter to everyone. Activist and writer Matt Stoller has shown that the company has responded to protests in the past in the form of improved working conditions. “According to St. Louis Federal Reserve president William Poole,” reports Stoller, “the last time there was significant labor unrest at Walmart, in 2006, the company raised wages at 700 stores.”

Because Walmart is such a massive company, employing 2 million workers in the US, its practices influence the entire retail scene – and indeed the whole global economy.

Lynn Parramore is Contributing Editor at AlterNet. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of "Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture." She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.