Union Threatens to Paralyze Walmart Stores on Black Friday

By:  Bob Adelmann
11/21/2012
       
Union Threatens to Paralyze Walmart Stores on Black Friday

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union has threatened 1,000 protests against Walmart on Black Friday, while the giant retailer has filed a complaint against such actions by the union with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union has threatened 1,000 protests against Walmart on Black Friday, while the giant retailer has filed a complaint against such actions by the union with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

A spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union said on November 16 that it will stage 1,000 protests around the country on Black Friday, including “flash mobs” and other forms of “creative protest” designed to “educate” Walmart shoppers on how poorly the company treats its workers.

According to Dan Schlederman, UFCW’s director in charge of the protests, “We’re seeing unprecedented support. In my 20 years of organizing I've never seen this kind of activity.” Black Friday, he says, is “going to be a very creative day.”

The union’s complaints against the giant retailer go back many years and include complaints about wages, hours, working conditions, and alleged retaliation by managers against associates promoting union membership during working hours.

In those years it has had precious little success. Not a single one of the more than 4,500 Walmart stores and warehouses is unionized, while in Canada it succeeded in unionizing only three, and two of them voted to decertify while decertification is continuing at the third.

Such abject failure has done little to dampen the union’s enthusiasm. On November 15, at the union's urging, some workers at a Walmart store in Seattle walked off the job, while others in San Leandro and Riverdale went on strike.

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