The Walmart Black Friday Strike Comes to a Store Near You.

Why Black Friday shoppers may encounter Walmart strikers and their supporters and why that is important.

On Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, shoppers will be greeted by demonstrations in support of striking Walmart employees at hundreds of Walmart stores across the country.


The intent of the demonstrations is not to discourage shoppers from shopping at Walmart but to bring to their attention that those low prices they enjoy have a cost and that cost is the horrendous working conditions of Walmart employees.


Walmart’s unfair treatment of its employees is legendary: poverty wages; insufficient hours, most employees are not full-time even though many stores are understaffed; no overtime pay; inadequate or no health insurance; and no holiday pay despite the fact that stores are forcing their employees to work from 7:00pm on Thanksgiving to 4:00am on Friday and then return to work at 7:00am.


Walmart has been sued in the past for forcing employees to work off the clock and other wage-theft activities and their virulent anti-unionism has resulted in law suits for unfair labor practices.


Walmart has been brilliant in the art of socializing their costs and privatizing their profits. By paying their employees poverty level wages Walmart gets the public to subsidize a major part of their business expenses. The average salary for a Wal-Mart employee is less than $9.00 an hour. Even at $9.00 and a forty-hour work week - and almost no one gets forty hours - that would come to an annual salary of $18,700 which is $5,000 below the poverty line for a family of four. Whenever a Walmart employee uses food-stamps to feed his or her family, or puts their children on Medicaid or uses the emergency room for lack of health insurance the American public pays the bill in higher taxes.  With 1.4 million workers the Walmart tax bill is in the billions of dollars.


Walmart‘s success as a standard setter for low-wage employers feeds one of our country’s long term economic structural problem: the growing inequality of income and wealth and the resulting increase in poverty. And a new study shows that Illinois now ranks fourth among states in the growth of income inequality.  This should be of particular concern to residents of Will County where the fastest growing work-force is warehouse workers whose working conditions, as the recent strike against the Walmart warehouse in Elwood exposed, are even worse than those of Walmart retail employees. Communities in and around Will County cannot prosper if  its fastest growing work force makes less than a subsistence wage. This is an intolerable situation and cannot continue.


Walmart‘s business plan has made Walmart one of the most successful businesses in the world and made the Walton family fabulously rich. But their business and financial success has come at an appalling cost to their employees and to society in general.


This coming Friday, Warehouse Workers for Justice and their supporters will gather at Sacred Heart Church, 329 S. Ottawa St., Joliet at 8:00am and then caravan to a Walmart somewhere in Will County to show support for all striking and non-striking Walmart workers across the country.


Ron Kurowski


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Michael M. November 21, 2012 at 09:06 PM
I watch PBS, MSNBC, CNN, FoxNews, and many other news sources. I even blog on the Huffington Post, I like to be well rounded and versed in my politics because no one news source has all the facts. So be careful about judging a person
Rick Drew November 21, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Sure Walmart takes advantage of it's employees, but no more than many MANY small businesses. I worked at a place that instituted a "job appreciation day" - they required all employees to work one day a month without pay. You could skip it, but then no Christmas bonus, no raises, etc. They were too small to notice. Attempting to unionize Walmart? Why? Labor unions are in it for the union - not the employee. Trade unions serve a valued purpose. Labor unions just raise prices and make union bosses rich.
Tommy O'Toole November 21, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Hilarious!! Michael M is a 'tool' for corporate greed masking itself in patriotism and the 'American Way.' Funny thing is, he doesn't even know it. Our corporate culture pits working people against working people and goofs buy into 'well, poor people wouldn't be able to shop there if they paid more, provided better benefits, had better working conditions.' Oh, then I guess poor people would be starving in the streets or picking up road kill for their food? Those employees are being selfless and sacrificing their economic success for the poor...HA! How about working people standing up for themselves and supporting each other. Same lines Swift and Armour used to use in the stockyards - 'if you don't like it, find something better.' Problem is, there isn't anything much better out there. Unions fought for a century to better the condition of the working man and woman-now they are villified for providing their workers with a living wage/benefits/sick days/pensions. It's working man against working man, taking poverty level wages while those at the top laugh and say 'sucker' to the goofs like Michael M who do their bidding (for no pay or benefits, mind you). A reckoning is coming. That reckoning will not be the 'fiscal cliff' used to scare people-it will be the majority of people in this country who are being screwed over who will take what is theirs. Oh wait, nahhh-things will not change. Bread and circus people, bread and circus.
Michael M. November 22, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Someone drank too much kool-aid.
Tommy O'Toole November 22, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Maybe the invisible hand will save us all??????
Genvieve LaChappele November 22, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Only corporations can be greedy, never politicians. I get it now.
Linda T November 22, 2012 at 04:51 AM
Trust me MM, I'm quite aware of the illusion of 'freedom' and the continual erosion of what little we actually have. I also know it's been going on for a long time under administrations of both parties.
Linda T November 22, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Wow - that's a lot of power you (think you) have, MM if you actually believe anyone needs your "sugar coating" of "facts" in order to "feel good" about "themselves or their situation." Concerning the political process, anyone who "feels good" about it with or without your "sugar coating" regardless of which major party's agenda we're speaking of, hasn't done their homework.
Michael M. November 22, 2012 at 06:33 AM
Linda T- I have no power, Why does it always have to be about power or authority? I prefer everyone make their own decisions. I just think the facts should be offered so that people can make informed decisions. I am speaking of the sugar coating that in general is offered by the media or anyone who talks about politics or thinks that being PC is the way to communicate. I am just saying that I am not going to sugar coat it as compared to others. You do not have to agree with me, or like what I say. All I ask is that you respect my right to express my opinions and to offer them for public consumption. PS-I am a conservative and I think you would be truly surprised by what conservatives actually believe, if some of you would take the time to engage in actual conversation.
Emily November 22, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Bob - if you think liberals care what you do, you're kidding yourself. Shop til your hearts content. No one cares.
Bob F November 22, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Well, you cared enough to respond, Emily!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Walt Wingo November 22, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Michael M. --"unions had nothing to do with having tomorrow off." Hey, Mikey, your lack of understanding of federal law and holidays and the history of how unions help build the middle class is pathetic! There are no federal laws which require private employers to give their employees a federal holiday off with or without pay. There is no federal law which requires an employer to pay their employees extra pay for working on a federally designated holiday. These benefits were won by workers, mostly in unions, fighting and striking and sometimes dying for every work benefit that people like you, who are the real 'takers' in our society, enjoy.
Michael M. November 22, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Good point!!
Michael M. November 22, 2012 at 06:58 PM
LIBERALS CARE - or pretend to care. They always want to tell us what we can do, what is good for you and what is bad for you.
Michael M. November 22, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Hey Walt- Unions had nothing to do with Thanksgiving becoming a holiday. I never said there was any federal law requiring you get a day off work. Employers choose to give you the day off. All you are doing is spouting progressive talking points. Unions have severed their purpose, and no doubt they had some influence in many of the benefits we have today, but the union leaders, not the members, have become corrupt and drunk with power. They get rich and give union money away to politcos who in turn give union leaders great deals on pensions that can't be paid. Wait until Illinois can't pay the union pensions that are due to public workers, do you think the likes of Andy Stern or Richard Trumka will care? No, they already have their millions, but the members will have no pension. I love how you call me a taker. How do I take from anyone? I pay all my own bills with money I earn from my 2 jobs, I feed my family with that same money, I give to charity, I take nothing from the govt or from you. And I pay a ton in taxes and I am middle class and we are going to pay even more in taxes and so will you.
leo November 22, 2012 at 08:05 PM
#1 If Walmart paid higher wages, they would pick up their own employees as customers. It would more than offset any customer loss from slightly higher prices. #2 Minimum wage is not a living wage, especially if you are always getting less than 40 hours a week. #3 Conservatives can't have it both ways: Medicaid and food stamps can't be horrible problems that unfair support lazy people, but acceptable for Walmart employees to use to compensate for low wages. It's not right for a company that makes that much profit to pay it's employees so poorly. What ever happened to the idea of investing in the people who work for you and are the faces of your company?
Juvenal November 22, 2012 at 08:11 PM
<<no holiday pay despite the fact that stores are forcing their employees to work from 7:00pm on Thanksgiving to 4:00am on Friday>> FORCING them? Are they not free to break the chains of bondage and find a job with better pay and better work conditions? No? Oh, you mean there are no other employers willing to hire them? Then why should WalMart pay them any more, or treat them any better, than the law requires. Seriously folks, this is how markets work. I fully support an educational strike so people can make informed decisions, but the fact is the market has already spoken. People who want better jobs than Wal Mart associate need to get beter skills. Period. This is the 21st century global economy folks, and there are 100 million other people in the US (and 4 or 5 billion in the world) who also lack skills and would happily take that Wal Mart job. Only solution is to get some skills or get some entrepreneurial spirit and start your own business, or you have a bleak economic future. Period.
Emily November 23, 2012 at 04:06 AM
You're assuming I am a liberal. I just stated no one cares where you shop. You're not that important.
Emily November 23, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Michael - The GOP wants to dictate people's health care and who they marry. I'll take someone recommending you eat a carrot instead of a ding dong once in a while.
Michael M. November 23, 2012 at 04:30 AM
The GOP wants to dictate healthcare??? Obamacare dictates that, and that was passed by progressives. I am not going to go into again about healthcare other than I work in healthcare, you will feel different when it is fully implemented. You get what you voted for, and the standard will be lower unless you are rich enough to pay for your healthcare.
Michael M. November 23, 2012 at 04:34 AM
As a conservative, I do not, nor does the GOP care who you marry, or if you have an abortion. We believe that it should be up to the states to decide who can be married, if you marry the same sex, you can discuss that with God when the time comes. As for abortion, the states should decide that also, and abortions should not be funded by taxpayers, you can discuss your abortions with God also. Do not force me to pay for your abortions and I won't force you to pay for my ding dongs.
Emily November 23, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Michael - you clearly are not a woman or you would agree, the GOP wants to tell me how to treat my uterus. The GOP certainly does care who marries whom and what I choose to do with my body. You have had blinders on this election. Trying to create laws based on a single religion's beliefs will make this country Iran. I am sure you need to twist the truth to justify to yourself that your party has serious problems. Obamacare isn't free healthcare. I will be paying for my own insurance. It's a good thing that tens of thousands of people will not die from lack of healthcare.
Michael M. November 23, 2012 at 05:50 AM
I guess you can't read. I just wrote that we don't care what you do, we just don't want to pay for it. Get off the koolaid. As for healthcare you will not be able to afford the insurance yourself. Also, you have to answer to IPAB as well as doctors and hospitals will have to answer to IPAB. IPAB is a 15 member board that will regulate healthcare, but only a minority of the board can be health care providers. They will set up protocols for healthcare, not your doctor. So if you go to the hospital with a heart attack, they will decide your treatment, not your doctor. Last word we got was that drug eluding heart stents will not be covered, they are the best stents you can get. So you will get a bare metal stent with a re-closure rate of 40% within 6 months; drug eluding have a re-closure rate of 1% in 6 months. So many will end up back in the hospital with another cardiac event or death, thus driving the cost of healthcare higher because of the repeat visits. You will be able to get the best stent, but only if you pay out of pocket, the cost will be between $2500-$6000 for the best stent. The govt will be making these decisions on a host of health care, plus you have to buy the plan the president chooses, and Obama has chosen the most expensive plan, can you afford $5,000-$7500 per year for insurance, plus the out of pocket expenses? You get the govt you deserve and now the healthcare you deserve.
Mike Fangman November 23, 2012 at 09:06 AM
Michael, you must have missed the member of the Texas legislature who, in 2009, introduced a bill that would make sodomy (anal sex) illegal. Or the fact that conservatives have been trying to either pull an end run on Roe v. Wade or overturn it outright since 1973.
Michael M. November 23, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Fangman- I Didn't miss a thing. It is exactly what conservatives want, the states to make those decisions. Let each state decide, as it is written in the tenth amendment. The feds have no business deciding these issues because we the people have not granted them that power nor has the constitution. That way if anyone does not like a certain states policy, the citizen always has another state to move to.
lala November 24, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Strikes are undertaken by labor unions during collective bargaining. How can these employees strike if they are not unionized?
lala November 24, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Some of the school districts use the less than 20 hour tactic to avoid insurance while paying extravagant salaries and benefits to management.
lala November 24, 2012 at 03:35 AM
The employees at the New Lenox and Homer store are great. Always helpful and never had a problem with them.
tmarc75 November 27, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Hey Mike Fangman - Unions accomplished great things - in the 1960s. Nowadays, unions are obsolete. P.S. my father lost his job when Hostess went out of business - the Teamsters aren't paying his miortgage. Thanks Unions!
Mike Fangman November 27, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Yeah, and the management that led them into two bankruptcies in eight years yet still could find the money to give themselves pay raises, had absolutely nothing to do with Hostess going under.


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