Business, Economics and Jobs

Wal-Mart Black Friday protests: company files complaint


A Wal-Mart store in Miami, Fla.


Joe Raedle

Discount retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is attempting to squelch worker protests planned for Black Friday, usually the busiest shopping day of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Employees belonging to two worker groups pressing for higher wages, lower healthcare premiums and better working conditions, OUR Wal-Mart and Making Change at Wal-Mart, have said they are planning to strike in stores in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Washington, DC, in the days leading up to and on Black Friday, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

Some Wal-Mart employees are upset that the company is ordering them to show up for work at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to open stores at 8 p.m. that night, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

Late Thursday, Wal-Mart filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which it claims is orchestrating the upcoming protests, the Wall Street Journal reported. The complaint requests that the National Labor Relations Board issue an injunction against employee protests at Wal-Mart stores and warehouses.

While Wal-Mart workers are not allowed to join the UFCW or other unions, OUR Wal-Mart and Making Change at Wal-Mart are affiliated with the UFCW, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

"We are taking this action now because we cannot allow the UFCW to continue to intentionally seek to create an environment that could directly and adversely impact our customers and associates," Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar told Reuters. "If they do, they will be held accountable."

"We are prepared to and will take all appropriate legal actions to enforce our property rights, protect our business, and ensure the safety of our customers and associates, on Black Friday and in the future," Wal-Mart outside counsel Steven Wheeless wrote in a letter sent on Friday to Deborah Gaydos, assistant general counsel of the UFCW, Reuters reported.

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