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 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 9:28PM
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 9:09PM

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!

Nov 16, 2012 8:33PM

This is amazing. The Hostess union employee's strike and the company shuts down and will lay-off over 18,000 workers. The coal Industry has been laying off. Military contractors are threatening to lay-off if the military budget is cut. Wal-Mart employee's are now starting. The economy is terrible right now and there isn't enough of us working to keep supporting those that don't. If you have a job you better keep it. If you strike and loose it then you shouldn't get a dime from us tax payers. I consider that a personal choice listening to your idiotic union leaders. And to me that's the same as quitting a job and you get no unemployment benefits. The union still doesn't get it, not every company is swimming in cash and you can't hold them hostage for more money. Those days are over.

Nov 17, 2012 6:57AM
This guy calls in sick to work, is obviously not sick, then goes on TV to complain about his employer?  What an idiot, lol.  Will it be retaliation if he gets in trouble for this?  Absolutely not.  I find his arrogance hilarious.  He thinks that if he gets fired that any of us will give a crap about it?  Here's a thought Colby, if you don't like your job, try to find a new one.

I work for Walmart and this entire situation is a joke.  This guy doesn't speak for my company, and the unions he thinks will help him(they won't) don't either.  I hope the company fires every single person who walks off the job on Black Friday(Thursday) for job abandonment.

Let me take you through a typical day for me at Walmart.  I start work at 7 a.m.  I work until around 9 a.m. when I take my first 15 minute break.  I then work until noonish, when I take my one hour lunch.  After lunch I work until around 2 p.m. when I take my second 15 minute break.  I work until 4 p.m., clock out and go home.  I do this five times a week.  Sounds pretty rough doesn't it?  Are there thing I don't like about my job?  Of course.  Are there people at my job that I don't like?  Absolutely.  Is this any different from millions of other people who work at different companies?  No.

I have a decent wage for the area I live in.  I have company provided health care, a 401k, stock options, vacation time, sick time, personal time, and paid holidays.  I am not a salaried manager.  I have been promoted four times in less than four years of working for the company.  This scenario is not unique to Walmart.  It is a similar story to thousand of fellow associates.  I didn't need a union to get where I am today, and I never will.  You know what the problem with associates like Colby Harris are?  They want to work certain hours and certain days, and are not willing to be flexible with their schedules.  I have open availability and am willing to work later hours or on the weekends.  Newsflash, business doesn't stop on the weekend for retail stores.  Working 9 to 5, Monday thru Friday is not realistic in a retail environment.

I find comments from people who don't work for Walmart hilarious.  They act like they think they know what goes on here, when in reality they have no clue.  If you've never worked for Walmart then please shut up about how things work there, you don't know, and stop pretending like you do.  Each store has it's own story, some good, some bad.  You can't draw a conclusion for the entire company based on the words of one guy from one store.
Some people want to be paid for breathing. It is time for people to realize an employer pays what is required for a particular skill level. If you want more pay improve your value to your employer by increasing your skill level. I have a family member that started to work with Wal Mart 6 years ago. His pay has continued to increase during his time with Wal Mart. He started with a high school education and next month he will graduate with a bachelors' degree in Business Management.
Nov 17, 2012 9:19AM

Read this and wake up America.  I recently bought a coffeemaker at Wal-Mart. I went there for one. Why? Wal-Mart's prices are the lowest.

A couple of day's later I went to the local medium sized  food market and saw my coffee maker priced about  ten bucks lower.

How have we become so conditioned. From the beginning, Sam Walton's way of doing business was to  offer the people what they need as a couple of cents lower and they will buy it It sounds pretty reasonable to me and it actually has a subtle ring of morality to it. But, some kind of economic monster grew out of that.

It  can destroy Main street America with a swipe of as pen and what it has done for the Chinese economy is jaw dropping.

Buy products made in the USA . Be careful of American brands that make the goods  outside our country. Take a minute. and look at the box, look for our flag and/ or" MADE in the USA" and it will usually say "with pride" Pay the extra cents. Put your neighbor back to work!

WE Owe it to our selves after all, look at what saving a few cents did . 


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 5:11PM
If you don't like your job you have a choice-----------QUIT you ****/////////////////
Nov 17, 2012 2:03AM
In this economy some people hope they can get a job at Walmart.
Nov 16, 2012 3:55PM
Nov 17, 2012 8:17AM
Hi, I work at Wal-Mart and so does my wife and 1 of my sons, plus 2 million Americans, I make a good living and we are NOT on any Goverment support , we have Great benefits ,  we work 40 hours a week, threw our stock  program we have saved $345, 000  from the last 20 years, that is far above what the average worker has saved, I am GRATEFUL for my job !
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 6:52PM

What kind of tweaked mentality must one have to strike in the midst of a recesssion?


Things are bad, so let's make it worse for all concerned, including one's own well being????

Nov 16, 2012 10:11PM
Nov 16, 2012 8:09PM
They should talk to the unemployed workers at Hostess Bakery.  I understand there's two thousand of them looking for work as a result of their strike.   The ones that complain about poor working conditions, usually are the ones that don't work.   
Nov 16, 2012 7:25PM

Beware of anyone who feels it necessary to keep "reminding" you of who and what they are.

Because if they are really what they proclaim to be... they wouldn't have to keep reminding you.

Nov 16, 2012 8:30PM
Trust-bust Walmart.

Solidarity with their slave workers.

I hope they all walk off the job.

Nov 16, 2012 6:00PM
When the Walton Family, who now  has combined assets that exceed the wealth of the bottom 150 million US workers, we have a problem.  Strike, strike and continue to strike.
Nov 16, 2012 8:45PM
I say Walmart workers SHOULD STRIKE!!!
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