This Friday was not only a day for massive shopping sprees and discounts, as Walmart encountered a wave of protesters during this Black Friday asking for higher salaries, but they couldn’t have found a worse day for this type of protest.
Only around 40 people showed up at the small rally, mostly due to the fact that everyone was busy shopping or just attempting to dodge the masses of discount-frenzied people. The problem of store workers working during Black Friday was even shown on the animated comedy show South Park, where the store clerks were shown as a small group of warriors who put their life on the line as they are attacked by large hordes of customers.
This is not very far from the truth, because, during Black Friday, these shopping sprees can lead to customers fighting or just trampling one another when attempting to enter the stores first to benefit from the aptly named door-buster deals. Several people might even require medical attention after such events have occurred.
The protesters asked for a higher wage, 15$, and better health benefits. Not surprising considering that Walmart is claimed by some people to be one of the worst places to work at, having low wages and an ever present threat of being let go due to various random reasons. The low pay grade is considered by the protesters to not be enough for them to actually feed their families, a claim which is disputed by Walmart which claims that it’s one of the best companies of this type at which someone could work, with other companies giving even lower wages and worse work conditions.
The reason why this type of protest will most likely fall on deaf ears is the lack of a Walmart worker union which could help the people form a contract with the company. By not having such a union through which a deal could be struck with Walmart, only a few changes have the change of being made, and these changes might not last if a contract is not present.
The starting point of this protest was when a Walmart employee was fired due to him having a criminal record which was not disclosed to the company at all. This was thoroughly disputed by the worker in question, who claimed that he was fired because he redeemed some bottles and cans which were left in a shopping cart. These products were worth about 2$ making this a pretty poor reason of firing someone, but due to the stigma which Walmart faces concerning the treatment of its workers and store clerks, it is not that surprising at all.
Although Walmart encountered a wave of protesters during this Black Friday in just a small amount, this type of protest is part of a bigger wave of activists which are currently struggling to make companies offer them higher wages across the nation.