If you’re heading out to go hunting for holiday deals on the day after Thanksgiving this year, there’s a possibility that you will run into some problems if you plan on looking for those early gifts at Walmart
A group of Walmart workers is planning to protest at stores on one of the busiest days of the year. This will be the third year of Black Friday demonstrations in a row. Protests are planned at 1,600 Walmart locations, the most ever, according to organizers from the union-backed group OUR Walmart.
Since plans are still in the works, the group could not say how many workers would actually show up. Protesters gathered at about 1,200 stores last year, according to the group, but Walmart says that number is inflated. It’s not only Walmart workers who will participate. Teachers and other community members are also expected to join.
The announcement comes a day after police arrested 23 people outside a Los Angeles area Walmart protesting what they say are the company’s low wages and its retaliation against employees who pushed for better working conditions.
The arrests on Thursday followed several hours of protest by a number of Walmart workers in California, according to Our Walmart and The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, or UFCW.
About 30 workers entered a Walmart store in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles on Thursday morning and held a sit-down protest for two hours, UFCW spokesman Marc Goumbri said.
The workers then protested at a Walmart store in Pico Rivera in eastern Los Angeles where the arrests eventually took place.
“Over the last year, Walmart workers have pressured Walmart to change its pregnancy policy, provide access to more hours and most recently to pledge to phase out its minimum wage jobs,” the UFCW said on its website.
The 23 people arrested were blocking an intersection and were cited for failure to disperse and then released, police said. When asked about the workers’ complaints, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said the company does not retaliate against workers who strike or protest.
“The reality is that few Walmart associates participate in these labor-organized protests,” she said.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Chief Executive Douglas McMillon last month said the company would work to phase out minimum wage jobs “over time”, a move seen as largely symbolic as just 6,000 of its 1.3 million U.S. workers make minimum wage.
The average full-time hourly wage at Walmart stores is $12.92, compared with the federal minimum wage of $7.25, according to the company.