Activists across the country are planning widespread, massive strikes at U.S. Walmarts this Friday. Organizers are expecting a strong showing on what is typically the biggest shopping day of the year. Last year, thousands of protesters staged rallies outside Walmarts across the country. However, only a small percentage of those participants were Walmart employees, indicating that a majority of the support is external. According to OUR Walmart, an organization that claims to work on behalf of Walmart employees to ensure they are respected, 400 Walmart workers went on strike. Workers and protesters are demanding a living wage above $25,000.
These Black Friday protests will likely be larger and more widespread than last year’s, as the labor movement has been gaining momentum throughout the year. Workers have held various protests throughout the year, including strikes in May and June before the annual shareholder meeting and in the run-up to Black Friday.
Organizers are hoping there will be tens of thousands of participants at hundreds of stores. The president of AFL-CIO stated that the members of the union will “stand in lockstep” with Walmart workers.
Additionally, there is significant social media activity about the day of action, urging people to attend a protest. The large media attention surrounding Walmart in recent days could also contribute to larger crowds at this year’s protests. Walmart representatives have indicated that they are not deeply concerned about the protests and believe they will be contained. They claim that last year, protests were held at less than 1% of Walmart stores. They also maintain that consumers will continue to “vote with their wallets” and shop at Walmart, despite the negative media attention. However, they could be seeking to downplay the protests.
For more information on worldwide threats including civil disobediance: