Working People Standing Together Give New Meaning to “Black Friday”

Black Friday is known as one of the biggest shopping days of the year, a day when giant corporations boost their bottom lines in a frenzy of shopping deals and “doorbusters.” Problem is, mega-corporations like Walmart aren’t sharing those huge profits with workers. They’re paying poverty wages to the very workers who make these huge companies successful. But thanks to the bravery and dedication of the Walmart workers and supporters who came out to protests in their communities, Black Friday is no longer just a day for corporations like Walmart. It’s a day for the people.

All across the country, heroic Walmart workers and members of the OUR Walmart campaign joined with allies to call upon the company with $17 billion in annual profits to pay its full-time workers a minimum of $25,000 a year – and they also demanded that the company stop punishing workers who stand up for their rights.  Working families rallied at more than 1,500 Walmart locations in cities and towns from coast to coast, and more than 100 protestors were arrested for engaging in civil disobedience in order to send a strong message to Walmart.

The action started at dawn in Southern California. While sleepy shoppers stood on line at 6am outside the Walmart in Ontario, dedicated protestors mounted a picket line for the morning rush, and another protest followed at noon at the Walmart in LA on Crenshaw Blvd. Check out media coverage here and here.

Sandy Gorman, who participated in the rally at the Crenshaw Walmart:

Workers have to have a voice. They have to have a voice in order to be able to support themselves, and that voice has to be heard.

Over 100 Walmart workers and protesters of all ages from throughout the Sacramento area gathered Friday morning at the Walmart in Roseville. The workers joined labor leaders and activists to engage in peaceful civil disobedience, blocking the street entrance to the Walmart shopping center. After refusing to move, 15 protestors were arrested, including several Walmart workers and Sacramento Central Labor Council leader Bill Camp. Check out news coverage here and here.

Walmart worker Meiasha Bradley wanted to send a message to her Walmart bosses:

I’m standing with associates all over the nation. We want to make $25,000. We all feel, nationwide, that Walmart, you're a billion dollar company. You can treat your associates better than what you do.

Later that afternoon, more than 350 Bay Area Walmart workers and supporters came out to the massive Black Friday rally at Walmart in San Leandro. The diverse crowd included clergy, local elected officials, Occupy protestors, students, union members, seniors and families with small children. Live music from Brass Liberation Orchestra kept the crowd in high spirits and turned the action into an impromptu dance party. Around 4pm, the protestors flooded into the street in front of Walmart. Five Walmart workers were arrested for peaceful civil disobedience, and as they were being cuffed and read their rights, the crowd chanted “You are heroes!” Check out the news coverage here and here and here.

This year’s Black Friday protests were far larger than last year’s, and are expected to grow even more next year. There’s no doubt that Walmart is paying attention – and other large corporations are taking notice too, because they know they’ve been cutting themselves bigger and bigger slices of the pie, while the rest of us are left fighting for the crumbs. And nothing scares them more than working people standing together for fairness and justice.

For more photos and highlights from Black Friday actions across the nation, visit www.blackfridayprotests.com.