With the Black Friday strikes at Walmart behind us, and a few days to reflect on the outcome, the big conclusion we can draw is that the workers got lukewarm results in the streets (or parking lots, as the case may be), but scored a major victory in the media, especially in social media. That momentum could go a long way for the struggles of low-wage workers across the country.
On Black Friday, the largest shopping day of the year in the United States, Walmart workers, their families, and supporters staged 1,000 protests and demonstrations in 46 states and in 100 major cities, according to OUR Walmart, a non-union worker’s organization associated with the strike. Only four states—Utah, Delaware, Wyoming, and Idaho—reported no strikes or protests.
Many of the workers and supporters who protested were affiliated with two organizations: OUR Walmart and Making Change at Walmart.
In a video posted to YouTube on October 23 by OUR Walmart, workers cite a laundry list of reasons for the strike, including low wages, unfair scheduling, and retaliation against workers who attempt to organize.
Actions took different forms in different cities, with tactics ranging from walkouts to picket lines. In Milwaukee, Wis., striking workers briefly occupied the front register area of Walmart store number 2452. On Twitter, @Wiscjobsnow tweeted pictures of the occupation. In Chicago, two dozen Walmart employees joined with other retail and fast-food workers for a series of protests in Chicago’s downtown. And individual workers walked off their jobs in places like Danville, Ky., Orlando, Fla., Ocean City, Md., and Baton Rouge, La.
In Mt. Vernon, Wash., Lori Amos, who has worked for Walmart for 13 years, walked out with one other ...