Threatened Black Friday Strike at Wal-Mart Could Be a Game Changer

Released: 11/15/2012 1:15 PM EST
Source Newsroom: Cornell University
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Newswise — A strike planned by Wal-Mart workers on one of America’s busiest shopping days – the day after Thanksgiving – has significance on many levels, according to Cornell University ILR School labor experts Ken Margolies, an associate in The Worker Institute in New York City; and Kate Bronfenbrenner, ILR’s director of Labor Education Research in Ithaca. The threatened Black Friday strike is being organized by Wal-Mart workers who are part of a group called OUR (Organization United for Respect) Wal-Mart, with backing from the United Food and Commercial Workers, Jobs with Justice, and other labor and community groups.

Margolies says:

“This unique, one-day strike by non-union workers with public support can have significant impact because even a small dip in sales on Black Friday has significant implications for Wal-Mart’s stock.

“The strike is part of an ongoing strategy and regardless of the outcome, the campaign is likely to continue.

“This strategy of direct pressure on large corporations to win improved pay and working conditions without a union contract has been successful for farm workers, domestic workers and those working in warehouses and suppliers to Wal-Mart.”

Bronfenbrenner says:

“It’s going to be huge. It’s going to be all over the world. For the first time, Wal-Mart is flummoxed – what are they going to do? Fire every single worker and shut down stores?

“This is global pressure for Wal-Mart to start changing its practices toward workers worldwide. Unions are supporting any concerted activity at Wal-Mart, regardless of whether the majority of their workers support the union at that workplace. This may be the largest scale labor action ever.”

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