The Wal-Mart Black Friday Protest Might Mean Something This Year
1:30 pm, November 20th | by Carmen Shardae Jobson
Black Friday is pretty much hell on earth for shoppers and workers, but at least shoppers get the satisfaction of buying goodies they don’t need for themselves or awesome early bird gifts for their loved ones. For workers, it’s another day of maltreatment and low wages, as owners and managers have had the temerity to up the ante in recent years by opening stores as early as 4am and in some cases, on Thanksgiving Eve to entice holiday and year-round shopaholics. Well, some employees at one of the most well-known retailers aren’t taking it anymore.
With the support of MoveOn.org, a movement is growing among Wal-Mart workers to protest not only working on Black Friday, but also to use the day to renew their call for the right to form a union. The protest also calls for for regular Wal-Mart customers to resist those slashed prices and stand beside their humble brethren. MoveOn, you’ll remember, is the same site behind the anti-Trump protest against Macy’s earlier this month (with the additional support, according to the Daily Caller, of “left-wing billionaire” George Soros).
Now, we already discussed the shaky logic behind an online petition regarding the Macy’s controversy, but this petition at least includes a boycott of Wal Mart as well as a statement of protest. Moreover, the idea of Black Friday itself and the unacceptable expectations that some workers are asked to adhere to may hit a bit closer to home for shoppers than whether or not The Donald is in a commercial. The economy may be growing steadily, but it doesn’t mean that everyday Americans aren’t still working menial jobs at places like Wal Mart. These employees are immigrants, young people without degrees (or with degrees who can’t find work), and senior citizens unable to retire, all wearing oversized blue cotton vests and an exasperated expression while they mindlessly ring up your socks.
The Black Friday protest is one that may gain more genuine support if people think of the employees who have to contend with the crowds on Fridays, rather than just salivating at the discounts. Even if most of the employees still show up at work, naturally fearful of losing a job, or facing the wrath of a manager, this quiet riot may be effective in that it will make the plight of those workers visible on one of the days when people are interacting with Wal Mart employees the most. Whether or not that will change their situation is unclear, but it has already gotten people talking — and that alone is a start.