Nonunionized Wal-Mart still facing strikes

Workers are protesting labor conditions, and some are targeting a mass Black Friday walkout. The company responds by filing an unfair labor charge.

By Kim Peterson Nov 16, 2012 3:06PM
Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

Even though it has no employee unions, Wal-Mart (WMT) may get socked with worker strikes on Black Friday.

Workers want better pay, more health care coverage and permission to form unions without retaliation. If Wal-Mart doesn't offer them an olive branch, some of them appear ready to go on strike on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

After days of downplaying the protests, Wal-Mart responded Friday by filing an unfair labor practice charge in the case. Wal-Mart shares closed Friday down 1% to $68.03.
The strikes seem to be coalescing around a group of current and former Wal-Mart workers called Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart, or OUR Wal-Mart. The group is asking Wal-Mart employees to take the Black Friday pledge on its website and refuse to work on that day. The group is getting backing from the United Food and Commercial Workers union, known as UFCW.

Wal-Mart directly targeted UFCW Friday, asking the National Labor Relations Board to stop what it describes as illegal efforts to disrupt business, Reuters reports.

"We are taking this action now because we cannot allow the UFCW to continue to intentionally seek to create an environment that could directly and adversely impact our customers and associates," Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said in a statement. "If they do, they will be held accountable."Wal-Mart store in Secaucus, New Jersey / Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The union scoffed, and one spokeswoman described the company as "grasping at straws." OUR Wal-Mart says it has 1,000 protests lined up from now through Black Friday at Wal-Mart locations nationwide.

Many Wal-Mart employees earn less than $10 an hour, and the group is asking the company to bump up pay to at least $13 an hour, according to John Logan, a professor of labor and employment studies at San Francisco State University.

In addition, worker health care premiums are expected to rise as much as 36% next year, Reuters reports. Wal-Mart told Reuters that the average health care premium will only rise about 4.4% for employees, however, as some high-premium plans get removed. Wal-Mart pays for routine checkups, but employees need to meet a deductible of at least $1,750 before Wal-Mart begins paying 80% of the cost of doctor visits, tests and other services, Reuters reports.

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Tags: WMT
Nov 17, 2012 3:55AM

My only "complaint" if you will with Wal-Mart is that when I tried to transfer to another store (my wife was accepted to college in another city), the other store was hiring and I was unable to transfer. Hence I was out of a job for about 2 months. I have a degree and am working on an advanced one right now. As far as hard work paying off, well I think with any company it depends on whether the hiring manager likes you.

 I woked in a hospital for close to five years. My manager pulled me in his office and told me I was one of the best workers he had and that if a supervisor position came open I was the next in line. 3 1/2 years afterwards I never was a supervisor. I also worked Wal-Mart as a second job and did interview for various manager positions and was told I interviewed well but never got a manager position either.

Looking back I am thankful as I am afraid being a manger would have made going to school rather difficult.

Nov 17, 2012 2:03AM
In this economy some people hope they can get a job at Walmart.
Nov 17, 2012 1:19AM
I agree that a Wal-Mart job is unskilled labor but if these people want to fight for higher wage I don't see how it's any business of a non-employee.I am a little confused by the people so opinionated on a matter that has nothing to do with them.There's these republicans trying to tie this event to re-election of Obama and their taxes.Narcissim at it's finest.Last I checked this is still America and real Americans go after what they want.Let the cowards wither and not question authority. 
Nov 17, 2012 12:56AM

We were making $13.00 an hour in 1985... and had 100% company paid insurance.



Walmart employees: Run, don't walk to your nearest exit this Thanksgiving day.

Nov 17, 2012 12:46AM
if the job doesnt pay enough,then go get a better paying job.if you cant because you didnt educate yourself and have no skills,then go educate yourself.the biggest reason people are in dead end jobs is because they are uneducated, and have no drive.i guess they could always quit and join the 47% who voted for obama and get their free government handout
Nov 17, 2012 12:28AM
Walmart has become corrupted since the family decided to sale the company  for billions more to corp. several yrs ago..
Nov 17, 2012 12:24AM

This group, OUR Walmart, is nothing more than a front for the UFCW, the union that claims to defend their members but ends up making things worse (case in point, the last grocery workers strike here in Southern California). Decades ago, Unions benefitted those who were truly being exploited. Now, unions benefit not only the hard workers, but also the lazy workers. Why work hard when it's hard for an employer to fire you due to Union protection. As for Walmart, my wife has worked for them over ten years. She works hard, hardly ever misses a day and as a result, makes a very good wage. We have health and dental coverage. Is the coverage cheap? Of course not. Health care these days isn't, regardless of what company you work for. This OUR Walmart group are predators, who send their cronies to Walmart parking lots to swoop on the employees walking out to their cars. They also make surprise visits to employees homes (how they get their addresses is a mystery). This happened to my wife when I answered the door and some dude was asking for my her. After finding out who he was, I asked him, "You're from the Union?". "Oh no," the guy answered nervously. I ran his **** out. So, Walmart workers who decide to walk out, go ahead. You'll accomplish nothing but pissing off your bosses and your co-workers who chose not to get caught up in the deceptive UFCW tactics.

Nov 17, 2012 12:14AM
Really?!  Do you think Target or grocery store or Kmart employees make $13 an hour?!  You get paid for the skill level required of your job.  No experience or education necessary means minimum wage pay!!!Everyone needs to get over themselves.
Nov 16, 2012 11:57PM
You may think some of these people are wrong, but in some stores things are at a breaking point. I understand that there is good stores who have good leadership from leads up to district, but there are some that are rotten all the way up and Walmart continuously breaks their own policies. It's horrible to work for a store that is lead by all the wrong people. Our local Walmart (0224) has gone through the worst possible change. It was already way to busy, but now their new district manager is cutting hours over half to the point that several employees only get 10-14 hours a week and understaffing important areas like Unloaders (suppose to have 7, but only have 4 regularly a night). To the point there are Assistant Managers leaving the job
Nov 16, 2012 11:53PM
Justin R ,If it takes a college degree to earn 13$hr then college or at least the college you went to was a waste. Sounds like you are a proponent of the race to the bottom which is bad for everyone.No I have never worked for Wal-Mart.
Nov 16, 2012 11:51PM
Getting fired for going off on the worst leadership I've ever endured is probably the most up lifting day of my life. I felt as if a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Walmart isn't always a bad place, but if you get the wrong people running your store, or worse, your district you can end up having a unlikable job turn absolutely horrid.
Nov 16, 2012 11:13PM

This is what happened to hostess. Unions drived the CEO to liquidate the company.

Nov 16, 2012 10:25PM
Sam's Club, the other part of the Wal-Mart criminal family, is doing the same thing to their employees.
Nov 16, 2012 10:17PM
I sold my stock last month.  Kick 'em where the sun don't shine.  Obama care should make life a little better add in a good strike over wages and the workers may survive.  The prices are not that good.  Other stores can match them and allow for a living wage.  The Walton's have been paid enough let them eat cake.
Nov 16, 2012 10:11PM
Nov 16, 2012 9:46PM

Most Wal mart workers are on the public dime for health care.  This is because WalMart with their billions refuse to offer health care and a decent wage.  This is a travesty and they should strike.  This is not Obamas fault but the fault of Walmart.  These major companies are driving out small businesses and then pay meager salaries.  All this while getting most of their products from China.  This is greed at its worst.  If you support Walmart your tax dollars will continue to pay for the workers health care.  Pay these people more money so they have money to spend to help the economy, not just enough to eat.

Nov 16, 2012 9:35PM
Let them walk out---if you have been to a Wal-Mart lately (at least here in Birmingha) you will find the laziest and most unfriendly workers in the world! If I were the Waltons, I'd take my money and run--the US labor force is embarrassing. I have 2 workers here in the states who are competent and want to work and need the work as much as I do. Also have 2 workers in India--pay them well above their local rates...and give bonuses to all my contractors. All 5 of us want to work and it shows!  Life is too short to provide for and work with people who don't want it. 
Nov 16, 2012 9:28PM
When Sports Authority was Garts, I had to work on Thanksgiving as a manager.. Sam Walton WOULD BE ROLLING IN HIS GRAVE.. if he knew WM was open on Turkey Day.. or treated his employees like SERF"S!  shame on you Walton's ! You are NO BETTER THAN A PLANTATION OWNER !  
Nov 16, 2012 9:27PM
One word: Hostess... hahaha.   $13/hr for *what*? How much skill or education does it take to stock shelves, move boxes around, or ring up a customer by passing stuff over a scan? But they want to be paid college level pay for GED level skills ~ lol.
Nov 16, 2012 9:09PM

By any chance do any of you people work for Wal-Mart?  I do!   I live in a right to work state and believe me, a job is a job right now.   Do you know how many people over 50 work for Wal-Mart?  We are the ones that didn't get a college degree and are just trying to retirement.


Union?!?  Why should I pay someone for me to work?  The ones complaining probably never swung a hammer, waited tables (at $.50 HR.), or did any work they could get just to survive!


Please, go cry in your beer somewhere else!

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