Walmart Workers Striking Over Black Friday Hours

Walmart employees in different cities, including Washington, DC, are protesting after learning "Black Friday" store hours start at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

Walmart workers across the country are striking due to the stores opening earlier this year for the Black Friday weekend.

Kingstowne-area Walmart employees are not planning a strike at this time; the closest Walmart protest to the northern Virginia area may happen at 4 p.m. Monday at the Capital Plaza Walmart in Washington, DC. 

Casey Hoag, a campaign communications specialist for The United Food and Commercial Workers, said at the moment, there aren't any strikes planned in Northern Virginia. Between this past week and Thanksgiving, more than 1,000 worksite actions will take place nationwide.

Earlier this fall, supporters of Walmart employees asking for higher wager and better working conditions demonstrated outside the Kingstowne Walmart.

Walmart employees all over the country have been striking for the past few months in protest to being silenced, long hours and little pay and issues with healthcare.

"These nationwide actions are all stemming from employee frustrations. The average associate makes $8.18 an hour. Walmart makes $16 billion in annual profits and executives bring home $10 million each," said Hoag in a recent email. "Surely Walmart can stop contributing to the growing problem of income disparity and start listening to the concerns of their workforce."

In early October, Walmart strike supporters spoke out at the Kingstowne Walmart and passed out flyers informing customers about the employees' concerns. The group visited different stores throughout that week to raise awareness.

"This is happening at about 250 stores and there are just as many workers who have walked off their jobs,” said Beth Pointer, an organizer for Making Change at Walmart.

In October, associates leading the strikes originally gave Walmart until Black Friday to meet their demands, including an opportunity to discuss their concerns with management and the end of alleged retaliations for speaking out. However, Walmart employees have continued to strike at different locations across the country.

Target Responds to Backlash Over Thanksgiving Hours

Target has also gotten some backlash after announcing they would open stores at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. According to DailyFinance, employees and supporters started a petition against the early opening at online petition site Change.org.

On Friday, Target responded to the campaign on "A Bullseye View," its official blog. The post explains that the early Thanksgiving Day opening plan was created after they received feedback from customers, who said they would prefer shopping right after Thanksgiving dinner instead of in the early hours on Friday. It also insists that Target employees' preferences were considered in making Thanksgiving work schedules.

Unlike Walmart, Target isn't facing organized labor actions during the Black Friday weekend, so at the moment, they're not budging on their early holiday openings.

kipweeks2 November 19, 2012 at 01:11 PM
I hope that WalMart fires every single worker that was supposed to show up Friday and chooses not to show up. Then Saturday at 9am, WalMart goes on tv and announces they are holding a massive "Putting America Back to Work" job fair to fill the spots of the idiots that chose to strike. Look, if they dont like their job - GET ANOTHER ONE. I love the WalMart in Kingstowne, I go there all the time. But lets be honest, the guy who helps me out in the grovery aisle, he could easily go work at 100 other stores in the area, there have to be 50 big box stores or grocery stores within 5 miles of that location. In this economy, maybe they should all just be happy to have jobs. And if my memory serves me, doesnt this happen every year? The union tries to scare us into thinking there is going to be a massive strike and basically nothing happens?
Ann November 19, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I understand why someone would complain about Walmart's practices if there really weren't anywhere else to work (perhaps in some smaller areas this is the case), but if you are working at the walmart in Kingstowne...there are about 100 places within walking distance that you could apply for a job at if you are unhappy there. The reason Walmart doesn't treat its workers well is because the companies premise is cheap items. As long as people keep wanting cheap items, someone has to pay the price and that is small businesses, manufacturers and walmart employees. The only way to bring about substantive change in their practices would be for a nationwide boycott which isn't going to happen.


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