Employees at 28 Walmarts in 12 different cities walked out of work Tuesday, but the buck may not stop there. An impending employee strike might have things may mean that things will get a whole lot worse for the biggest retailer in the U.S. on Black Friday.
The United Food and Commercial Workers’ Making Change At Wal-Mart, the group behind the protesters, is alleging unfair labor practices by the big box titan, and they have warned that the campaign will come to a head on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. And since Wal-Mart is where I do much of my holiday purchases, and since my daughter is an employee of this particular wholesaling mega mart, this strike could affect us both.
What this means for me
Crossing picket lines and protesters on the busiest shopping day of the year is not my idea of a good time. On the flip side, I have (for a long time) done much of my Black Friday shopping online, and am an outspoken proponent of Cyber Monday. On the flip side, I also do much of my grocery shopping at Wal-Mart, thanks to their liberal coupon policies, and an employee strike could mean my taking my money elsewhere, and an overly crowded market, depending on how many employees at my local Wal-Mart participate in this strike.
What this means for my daughter (a Wal-Mart employee)
My 18-year-old daughter works in the stocking department of Wal-Mart and has no intention of striking. However, as she is already scheduled to work on Black Friday, other employees she works with are planning to walk out of work. Ultimately, this means that she will be crossing picket lines in the demonstration in order to get to her station and that she will be bombarded with even more work, as she will be one of a handful of stockers on staff that day.
Wal-Mart Is Combating the Strike
To combat the potentially catastrophic effects of a Black Friday strike, my local Wal-Mart (and stores around the country) have aggressively increased their seasonal hiring practices. However, my local Wal-Mart hasn’t seen much of an increase in the way of willing workers.
The Bottom Line
Yet, my daughter and I fail to see the problem that workers have with this store. Wal-Mart provided my daughter with a job, benefits and a little over a minimum wage salary to help her save for college. She has no complaints about her working environment and understands that the type of work she does only qualifies for a minimum wage salary; she doesn’t agree with the union attempting to impose its views on an employer that has been nothing but good to her. So, for her, a strike isn’t in the cards, but that doesn’t mean it won’t affect her, and me by proxy.