PHOTOS and VIDEO: "Black Friday" Actions Hit Walmart Stores Across the US
Because Walmart began their "Black Friday" sales on Thanksgiving evening, workers at several stores began striking and protesting that night. The Dallas metropolitan area, which has three stores where OUR Walmart activists have struck at least once, was the first to see action on November 22. Here, a leader of OUR Walmart (who was recently interviewed by Socialist Worker) leads other workers and supporters to the front of a store in Lancaster, TX. (Photo: OUR Walmart)
Workers and supporters locked arms and marched toward the Lancaster, TX store in defiance of police to deliver a message to store management. According to participants, some shoppers joined in the march, locking arms into the contingent and repeating chants.
Action also started on Thanksgiving evening at a Miami, FL store, where one worker went on strike. Other workers who did not go on strike participated in the actions on their scheduled off time. (Photo: OUR Walmart)
“Why did I choose Thanksgiving to walk off the job? I united with my fellow coworkers,” worker Leonette Nottage told a local news station. “They feel the same pain that I feel. So therefore, ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’” (Photo: OUR Walmart)
The Overpass Light Brigade brings their message to a store in Kenosha, WI. (Photo: Overpass Light Brigade)
In Chicago, about 400 people showed up at 5:30 AM and were dispatched in school buses to various sites. A participant observed that police reactions were "generally more harsh than usual," particularly in Glenwood, where police pushed demonstrators out of the parking lot using threats and dangling handcuffs in an intimidating way. Prior to the latest wave of strikes at Walmart stores, Chicago area warehouse workers had taken job actions that shut down the most important node in the company’s US distribution network. (Photo: Isaac Steiner)
Walmart strikers and supporters in Baton Rouge, LA. (Photo: OUR Walmart)
Accompanied by Santa Claus, over 100 people affiliated with Occupy Detroit and Good Jobs Now leafleted Walmart workers at a Dearborn, Michigan store, while others leafleted shoppers outside. Supporters caroled versions of “Jingle Bells” and “Twelve Days of Christmas” that outlined some of the tactics Walmart uses to control its work force. Some customers joined in the chanting and singing and others took photos with their cell phones and iPads. One of the organizers reflected on the tactics chosen: "Workers seemed receptive and customers saw the event as a happening and were not upset by our presence. Children noticed we had Santa with us, and some parents asked Santa to stop and be photographed with their kids." (Photo: James Fassinger)
Video of the Black Friday action in Dearborn, MI.
Gabe Teneyuque from Apple Valley, MN (middle, behind banner) went on strike "because when Walmart Associates speak out, Walmart retaliates." "It breaks my heart," he continued, "to see the company I work for try to silence its Associates--but I’m here today to say I will not be silenced." (Photo: OUR Walmart)
Walmart workers and their supporters gather outside of a store in Paramount, CA (near Los Angeles). (Photos: OUR Walmart)
Walmart strikers and supporters engage in civil disobedience outside the Paramount store. One of the workers pictured was recently interviewed on Democracy Now.
About 200 energetic supporters filled up the entire area in front of the San Leandro, CA store. Among them were labor and Occupy activists from nearby Oakland, as well as many residents of San Leandro, a diverse and working class suburb. (Photos: Adam Hefty)
Though none of the workers were striking from the Albany, NY store, about 100 supporters organized by the Albany Labor Federation showed up to express solidarity with the national campaign. (Photo: Jonathan Flanders)
The Capital Plaza Walmart is the closest of six stores in the Washington, DC suburbs. Organizers said that 100 workers at those six stores have struck at least once this week. At least a dozen are struck on Black Friday, but some workers involved in unloading goods decided to participate in Monday’s strike instead to have more of an impact. (Photo: OUR Walmart)
Josh Eidelson reports that, "Following the Capital Plaza rally, striking workers and most protesters went to a Laurel, MD store to distribute leaflets and sing re-written Christmas carols ('I saw Walmart fire Santa Claus'; 'Deck the aisles with living wages'; 'May your days abound with strike talk, and may all your workers walk') until asked to leave." (Photo: OUR Walmart)
About 60 supporters, organized mainly by Jobs With Justice, United Food and Commercial Workers, and Occupy, gather at the Long Island, NY store. Supporters passed out leaflets in the parking lot and cycled through the store itself, talking with customers and workers. Many customers unaffiliated with the action took OUR Walmart stickers to wear in the store. According to one participant, a young boy who was wearing a sticker was given a hard time about it by a Walmart manager--so the child's father took it off his son, and proudly put it on himself! (Photo: George Sanco)
Over 200 people braved a steady downpour at the Renton store, just outside Seattle, WA, maintaining a long picket line that wove through the parking lot for about an hour. One of several workers who walked off the job (below) addressed the crowd with an impassioned speech about the difficulties of living on low wages and enduring disrespect on the job. (Photos: Star Murray)
Do you have your own report, or links to video and photos to share? Leave us a comment below!