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Tue Nov 20, 2012, 09:31 AM

Walmart rattled by growing unrest ahead of Black Friday's strike

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/20/walmart-unrest-black-friday-strike


No Thanksgiving: members of Our Walmart are campaigning for reform of the mega-chain's ultra-low-wage employment practices. Photograph: Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters


On Friday, Americans by the millions will crowd into big-box retail shops to take advantage of bargains on wide-screen TVs and other electronics – necessities, as well as luxuries – all marked down in order to draw them in and have them line up outside in advance of the doors opening. And now, as we've learned, several chains plan to open at 8pm on Thanksgiving day itself.

The greatest irony of "Black Friday", as it's known, is that it's seen as a celebration of consumerism, instead of a sign of desperation: when a Walmart worker was crushed to death by a Black Friday crowd in 2008, the news was accompanied with moralizing about American greed, rather than any discussion about low wages in the US.

Would people be so desperate for bargain shopping at already dirt-cheap places like Walmart if they themselves were making a decent living?

This year, Black Friday at Walmarts around the country will be marked by something other than just ultra-low prices. Workers, members of a labor union-backed organization called Organization United for Respect at Walmart (Our Walmart) will be striking and, along with their allies, holding rallies and actions to support the effort. Walmart has managed to go 50 years without a strike; many unions have tried and failed to organize workers. But in just a month and a half, the strikes have spread to stores across 12 cities, and Walmart is worried: the company has filed an unfair labor practices charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

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Reply Walmart rattled by growing unrest ahead of Black Friday's strike (Original post)
xchrom Nov 2012 OP
marmar Nov 2012 #1
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #2
DonRedwood Nov 2012 #17
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #3
Fumesucker Nov 2012 #4
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #6
WinkyDink Nov 2012 #39
plethoro Nov 2012 #10
Lars39 Nov 2012 #12
plethoro Nov 2012 #16
Patiod Nov 2012 #13
plethoro Nov 2012 #15
Patiod Nov 2012 #21
plethoro Nov 2012 #24
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #25
plethoro Nov 2012 #36
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #42
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #46
Fawke Em Nov 2012 #20
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #26
progressoid Nov 2012 #47
Sekhmets Daughter Nov 2012 #48
sheshe2 Nov 2012 #5
onethatcares Nov 2012 #8
Iggo Nov 2012 #34
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #44
A HERETIC I AM Nov 2012 #11
Patiod Nov 2012 #18
Not Sure Nov 2012 #22
A HERETIC I AM Nov 2012 #23
sheshe2 Nov 2012 #28
Patiod Nov 2012 #40
sheshe2 Nov 2012 #29
Rain Mcloud Nov 2012 #33
coalition_unwilling Nov 2012 #43
Sadiedog Nov 2012 #50
Starry Messenger Nov 2012 #7
DirtyDawg Nov 2012 #9
Javaman Nov 2012 #14
backscatter712 Nov 2012 #41
riderinthestorm Nov 2012 #19
Cracklin Charlie Nov 2012 #27
PavePusher Nov 2012 #30
homegirl Nov 2012 #31
sheshe2 Nov 2012 #32
gollygee Nov 2012 #35
Fence rider Nov 2012 #37
HopeHoops Nov 2012 #38
amborin Nov 2012 #45
Wednesdays Nov 2012 #53
AllyCat Nov 2012 #49
Kolesar Nov 2012 #51
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #54
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #52
upi402 Nov 2012 #55
PavePusher Nov 2012 #56
2ndAmForComputers Nov 2012 #58
FrodosPet Nov 2012 #57
democrattotheend Nov 2012 #59
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #60
democrattotheend Nov 2012 #61
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #62
DanM Nov 2013 #64
DanM Nov 2013 #63

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 09:32 AM

1. I don't think one can overstate the importance of this action......


...... this is about so much more than Walmart.

k/r


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Response to marmar (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 09:35 AM

2. Agreed. This is just another in what is, hopefully, a growing trend of people

 

waking up and standing up together.

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Response to marmar (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:31 AM

17. +100000000000000000000000000000000000

why there hasn't been a nationwide strike i don't know....

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 09:36 AM

3. WalMart is not dirt cheap for things like televisions.

2 months ago my son purchased a 60" flat screen T.V. At Best Buy...the exact same television was $100. more at WalMart. They are using their cheap crap almost like loss leaders and over-charging for big ticket items.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 09:42 AM

4. A lot of people don't purchase something like a TV until the old one craps out

At which point they're unlikely to spend a lot of time shopping around if they're TV addicted which a lot of people are.

Walmart is _there_ and they have the stuff on the shelf so that's where people go.

Watched this happen to some people I know recently and that's just what happened, he didn't particularly care that the TV was defunct and would have shopped around for a day or three but she wasn't having any of it, they were getting another TV right away and Walmart was where it came from.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:07 AM

6. While virtue is its own reward,

laziness and stupidity is its own punishment. My son's television had gone out as well. He went to Best Buy after looking on line for the models which would interest him the most. When he saw the size of the box he knew he would never get it into his car and made arrangements to have it delivered, after making sure he could cancel the order within 24 hours. Then he went to Costco and WalMart. Costco didn't have what he wanted and you know the WalMart story. Had he been able to fit the television in his car he would have visited the other stores before making his purchase. The whole thing took about an hour and a half. It was a learning experience for him.
After 4.5 years of college, 3 years of law school and a fourth year getting his tax LL.M (he finished up in May, 2011) he is a regular WalMart shopper. He was shocked that it cost that much more.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:20 PM

39. Happened to me, the day of an NBA Final. I went to a small local store, went home with a TV.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:16 AM

10. You are right. I don't shop at Walmart for anything. They are the epitomy

 

of bad labor practices. As far as TV's go, I buy that stuff at Sams or Costco exclusively. I wouldn't even care if they cost a little more at either place--their return policies are the best. I always check prices at Amazon on everything now, even if I won't be buying from them. They present prices at realistic levels. My current buying practices are: Amazon-60% Sams-20% Costco-15%, Other-5%.

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Response to plethoro (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:21 AM

12. Sam's is owned by the Waltons also.

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Response to Lars39 (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:27 AM

16. I stand embarrassed. I knew that......nft

 

dddddddd

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Response to plethoro (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:24 AM

13. Although Sam's is Walmart

It's Walmart's warehouse store, named after Sam Walton. In our town, the Sam's and the Walmart are back-to-back.

Costco is completely different - different owners, different policies, and they pay their people better.

(Note - I know a lot of people who think Walgreen's is related to Walmart, and it's not)

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Response to Patiod (Reply #13)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:26 AM

15. Then Sam's is now out also. I feel stupid. I forgot about that.......

 

Hanging head in shame......

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Response to plethoro (Reply #15)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:43 AM

21. Okay, true confession time

Until October, I, too was a Sam's shopper.

Until his death, we lived with and took care of my dad, who LOVED Sam's Club. So he insisted that all the shopping I did for the house was at Sam's Club. And he got apoplectic if I put gas on his credit card that was bought anywhere else. So if he was buying, I went to Sam's. When I was buying, I went elsewhere.

Now he's gone, and we're debating between BJ's and far-away Costco. What sucks is that Sam's is only about a mile away.

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Response to Patiod (Reply #21)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:59 AM

24. I'm not familiar with BJ's. I like Sam's Club also. It will be hard to

 

stop going there. The prices are good and the employees are so nice. Life is getting harder on a micro level as well as a macro level. I am also non-plussed with Target for their Thanksgiving store hours. Maybe I should just stay in the house for 2013. I think I would have liked your Dad.

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Response to plethoro (Reply #10)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:59 AM

25. Why, if you object to

WalMart's labor practices, do you shop at Sam Walton's Club? Or Amazon for that matter? It could be argued that the labor practices of Amazon are even worse and they hurt the revenues of all 50 states by refusing to collect and turn over sales taxes.

I don't shop at WalMart because I have no interest in crap and can afford to give it a pass. The same is true of Sam's Club. I'm at that stage in life where I have everything I need, and most of what I want. I am moving away from Amazon now that their labor practices have been revealed and buying much less from the site. Amazon stock is not at $232. a share...surely they can afford to have warehouse employees paid a living wage and treated like human beings.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #25)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:05 PM

36. I covered Sams Club in my two previous answers to this post......

 

I do volunteer work over 100 hours a week, split half in half for Alzheimer's patients at a hospital and Diabetics at a website I run. I buy stuff from Amazon because they are cheap enough that I can keep going. Yes, I know the world is an unfair place. However, I must abide by some of that unfairness to attenuate the unfairness among some of those less fortunate than me. I was a Regional Controller for Sears and Director of Finance for Texaco. Both of these companies make Amazon look like pillars of goodness by comparison. Myself, I go forward in random movement doing the best I can. I read about Amazon in Mother Jones. I can only hope the good I am able to do with my Amazon purchases exceeds the bad Amazon is doing by under-providing for their employees.

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Response to plethoro (Reply #36)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:57 PM

42. We collaborate and are co-opted by lesser evils so that we can

 

do battle with greater evils.

Yours is a quite eloquent and convincing ethical system suitable for our times. Bravo!

I heard Howard Dean say something similar once when he said we shouldn't sacrifice the good because we fail in our pursuit of the perfect. (Think this was in reference to whether progressives should stick with the Dems or go third party.)

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Response to plethoro (Reply #36)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 03:27 PM

46. That's as good a reason as any I've ever heard.



We do what we can and what we must.

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Response to Fawke Em (Reply #20)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:01 AM

26. No, they don't.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 05:45 PM

47. A family member told me I should get my prescription filled at Wallyworld.

I called around and they were the 2nd highest price in town.

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Response to progressoid (Reply #47)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 05:59 PM

48. I believe it...

I don't know why people won't take a few minutes to make phone calls or check online. I'm glad you did.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:05 AM

5. The greatest Irony

"The greatest irony of "Black Friday", as it's known, is that it's seen as a celebration of consumerism".....
Thanksgiving use to be a day of family values.It was a day when family and friends alike would come together to Celebrate all that they are thankful for.These retailers that are opening as early as 8pm have taken that Celebration away from their employees.

The only thing that they celebrate is the almighty dollar. It is pathetic!

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Response to sheshe2 (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:09 AM

8. well hell yeah,

veterans day is about selling mattresses, memorial day is about selling used cars, independence day is about selling furniture, so thanksgiving has to be about selling cheap ass shit that the working shleps can afford(on credit of course)

Pathetic isn't the word for it.

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Response to onethatcares (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:56 AM

34. Don't forget white sales on President's Day.

Bargains on sheets.

Thanks, George Washington!

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Response to onethatcares (Reply #8)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:02 PM

44. Thanksgiving celebrates one of the greatest land grabs in the history of mankind. So

 

the holiday deserves to be a hollow shell of itself, imho.

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Response to sheshe2 (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:19 AM

11. What, pray tell, are "family values "?

"Thanksgiving use to be a day of family values.It was a day when family and friends alike would come together to Celebrate all that they are thankful for."

Really? Was it really like that in your home? And just exactly what are "family values" and is there an opposite?

I REALLY hate that term. It is a bogus, bullshit euphemism for something that means different things to different people and is a wedge term too often used by the right wing as a way to claim some sort of nonsense higher moral ground.

You know what thanksgiving used to be at
my house and I KNOW at many millions of others? A day when too many people got together, some of whom would rather be ANYWHERE else, to eat too much and then fall asleep watching football. Oh yeah... And someone, usually dad, getting pissed about how something was cooked and yelling about it.

Family values? For fucks sake.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:39 AM

18. Woah! Settle down there!

Do we really need to beat up so badly on our fellow Progressives here at DU? I think the poster just meant that it used to be a holiday that more about family (however dysfunctional) then about shopping.

I used to hate Thanksgiving as much you did, because I hated a holiday that had my mom and I busting our humps and my mouth-breathing brother and disgusting uncles sitting around picking their teeth and whining for more food before Mom had even been able to sit down for her first bite.

I used to ask to work on Thanksgiving at the country club where I waitressed - why waitress for a bunch of ingrates for free when I could make $150 for the exact same services?

The holiday has grown on me. Best Thanksgiving ever two years ago: picked up my SO from the hospital Thanksgiving morning after emergency surgery. We were living with my elderly dad, keeping him out of the nursing home. He was downstairs for the first time in months. Just the three of us (well, the cat was sitting in the 4th chair, but she didn't get a plate). Everyone in sweatpants and t-shirts. Instead of my planned home-cooked meal it was turkey, fixings, and a pie courtesy of Boston Market for about $21 with no work for me. Can't beat that.

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Response to Patiod (Reply #18)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:49 AM

22. That sounds like a great Thanksgiving to me! n/t

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Response to Patiod (Reply #18)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:53 AM

23. Settle down there?

Seriously?

I'm not beating anyone up, I'm just asking a question and if I may add, a legitimate one.

I never said I hated thanksgiving, nor do I hate family gatherings. It's just the way the sentence which I quoted above is worded set me off.

And by the way, thanksgiving time has ALWAYS been about shopping. Always.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #23)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:14 AM

28. Truly sorry My values remark upset you.

I am also sincerely sorry your holiday was like you describe.

Our family is small, however we have always come together to celebrate the day.

This Thanksgiving has a whole new meaning to us. We almost lost a family member in an accident, not 30 days ago. He is home after 25 days in the hospital. So yes we have much to be Thankful for.

Peace

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Response to sheshe2 (Reply #28)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:28 PM

40. That was my best Thanksgiving, too

My partner home from the hospital (that very day) even though he could only have a few bites, and my Dad downstairs eating with us, not from a tray. Me not cooking.

Much to be thankful for that year.

Glad you're having that kind of year this year (even though the 25 days in the hospital sucks)

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Response to Patiod (Reply #18)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:15 AM

29. Thank you....n/t

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Response to Patiod (Reply #18)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:50 AM

33. My Mother was a Cook for a great University

 

and every year she would get up at 4:00 AM to start Thanksgiving while my father was alive.
While eating at Marie Calendars one day i noticed that they offered a complete Thanksgiving Day Dinner for around $90 complete with pie.
After that,Marie cooked thanksgiving and it was wonderful for all because mom finally got to sit down and visit everyone instead of slaving away over a hot stove.
Since Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks,I am thankful for that extra time we got to enjoy with mom.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #11)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:58 PM

43. When I hear 'family values,' I reach for my gun. Just kidding! - n/t

 

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #11)


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:08 AM

7. k&r

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:15 AM

9. Sadly...

 

...most folks won't have been paying attention, or are so completely naive about the concept of 'acting against their own interests' that the Walmart guy's probably right - they'll show up to shop. Won't be me since I refuse to give the damned Walton's a penny of my money, and never will.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:25 AM

14. I know how I'm spending my Friday...

not shopping but marching with the protestors in support.

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Response to Javaman (Reply #14)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:51 PM

41. Solidarity!!!

I'm protesting on Black Friday!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 10:41 AM

19. Big K&R. This is a big deal and deserves high praise and recognition. nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:14 AM

27. Walmart has filed an unfair labor practices charge...

Oh, that is hilarious! Whaaaaaa!

Go, OUR Walmart!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:16 AM

30. Easy fix for this.

 

If I'm not on duty, I don't go anywhere near any retail business for the entire weekend.

Mountain trails are much better for the soul and the wallet.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:18 AM

31. Thanksgiving memories

Thanksgiving Day is not for shopping. If you have nothing else to be thankful for you have hidden from the world. The day after is for grabs as to how to enjoy a day off with a fridge full of tasty leftovers. For the record, thanks to their labor policies, I have never, and never will, set foot in or spend a penny in any Walmart. Support American labor, boycott Walmart and any retailer who opens on Thanksgiving Day.

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Response to homegirl (Reply #31)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:35 AM

32. Welcome to DU Homegirl

Being in retail myself....I could not agree with you more!

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:58 AM

35. I can't believe they are filing an unfair labor practices charge against anyone

That's just sadly ironic.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:08 PM

37. Disgruntled

I for one feel like this is a violation of decency. I say let's stop shopping on the holidays and they wouldn't open! Of course I am sure I am alone on that. A few years ago I felt the need to go to a store on Thanksgiving and I honestly felt deeply sorry about the employees having to be there. No more for me.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:16 PM

38. REMEMBER TO CALL ALL WALMARTS IN YOUR AREA ON FRIDAY!!!

 

"Are you open today?"

1) "Yes" - response "Too bad."
2) "No" - response "Good"

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Response to amborin (Reply #45)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:00 PM

53. Well, the CEO deserves all those millions!

After all, CEO's work hundreds of times harder than the average worker!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:19 PM

49. Walmart filed unfair labor practice claim?

How does that work?

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #49)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:54 PM

51. Walmart’s alleges UFCW union is responsible for illegal “representational” picketing

Walmart’s charge alleges that the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union is responsible for illegal “representational” picketing – that is, strikes designed to win union recognition from Walmart. Labor law generally forbids unions from engaging in representational pickets for more than thirty days (the US Supreme Court does not apply the same First Amendment protections to labor picketing as it does to “God Hates Fags” pickets at funerals).

Based on Walmart’s charge, and a cover letter sent to the UFCW, the NLRB faces two main questions. First, has OUR Walmart, the group organizing the Walmart store strikes, been acting as an affiliate or agent of the UFCW? And second, are these in fact representational strikes, as Walmart alleges, rather than strikes protesting “Unfair Labor Practices,” as OUR Walmart claims? On both questions, Walmart says yes; OUR Walmart and the UFCW say no.

On the first question, Marshall Babson, a former NLRB member appointed by President Reagan, predicted that the board would consider factors including whether UFCW was providing OUR Walmart with “monetary support” or “logistical support,” whether there’s been “coordination of efforts,” whether the UFCW has provided “a written set of instructions to picketers, anything like that,” and whether the union offered any “ratification or condonation” of the pickets after the fact. Among other significant ties, The New York Times’s Steven Greenhouse and Stephanie Clifford reported that the UFCW listed OUR Walmart as a “subsidiary organization” on a 2011 filing; the UFCW told the Times that the organization has since “grown and gained independence.”

http://www.thenation.com/blog/171348/walmart-asks-judge-block-historic-strikes#

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #51)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:03 PM

54. Thanks

Have talked to local activists, needed some background. Color of Change has more too

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 07:59 PM

52. I am looking forwards to Black Friday

This could very well be a turning point for labor.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:04 PM

55. Googling; "walmart profits" gets my internets stuck

Can't do anything with the results from that search.
aaargh

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Response to xchrom (Original post)


Response to PavePusher (Reply #56)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:08 PM

58. OK. I get it.

Nobody has any right to complain about anything except the Oh So Holy & Sacred Men In Uniform.

The Walton family thanks you for your solidarity.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 08:54 PM

57. Rich people LOVE Walmart

"Would people be so desperate for bargain shopping at already dirt-cheap places like Walmart if they themselves were making a decent living?"

I've spent most of my life broke as a joke, but living in one of the richest counties in America. Seems to me all the Walmarts around here are in some high $$$ areas, and filled with vehicles that I don't even bother dreaming to own.

If everyone had more money, most people would not have BETTER stuff, or the SAME stuff they paid an extra 20-30% for. They would have MORE stuff.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:37 PM

59. Is there a way to find out which stores are having protests?

If there is one near my parents' house I would love to join.

Never thought I would spend a Black Friday at Walmart...it would be kind of ironic if I end up doing that.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #60)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:45 PM

61. Thanks a bunch

Unfortunately, the closest one is 2 hours away. I wish they were doing something in South Jersey.

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #61)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:49 PM

62. Well, I am coveting the strike on aisle two

For ECM. So I will do Black Friday this year.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #60)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 09:40 PM

64. I'm sure the tea-baggers don't like that post.

Screw 'em!

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #59)

Fri Nov 8, 2013, 12:53 AM

63. Interesting.

I agree.

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