By Doug Cunningham
This is a Black Friday like no other for the world’s largest retailer. Wal-Mart workers today are striking and their supporters are boycotting Wal-Mart. The Black Friday action comes after years of Wal-Mart workers struggling to improve wages and working conditions and efforts to organize unions at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is intensely anti-union, but workers earlier this year at warehouses handling Wal-Mart merchandise in Illinois and California united to demand improved conditions walked off their jobs. Steven French is a Milwaukee Wal-Mart worker who will be part of today’s Black Friday protest.
[Steven French]: “Wal-Mart is a billion dollar company and yet a lot of its associates still depend on state aid to survive through life. What we’re going to be doing is actually a walkout in protest to the unfair way that Wal-Mart associates have been treated by the upper management in regards to our voices not being heard and different policies that we have issues with and our currently just trying to find our voices so we can get different policies changed.”
French says Wal-Mart workers are standing up to demand a voice on the job and wages that really support a family.
[French 2]: “We want our voices to be heard. And we feel like we’ve been silenced for so long now and its time for a change. It would be nice to see a union because it’s nice to know that there are people out there that feel the same as we do and have better means to see that some of these things come to fruition, you know?”
Wal-Mart workers want a living wage of at least $25,000 a year and quality, affordable health care coverage. They also want an end to Wal-Mart’s retaliation against workers who unite to speak out to improve their working conditions. Supporters of Wal-Mart workers will be at stores nationwide on this Black Friday to stand with Wal-Mart workers.