Walmart Workers Start Early Protests With D.C. Sit-Down

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The union-backed groups that have organized Black Friday strikes at Walmart (WMT) locations the past two years are gearing up for a third -- and things have started early.

According to the group OUR Walmart, workers have already walked off the job or started protesting at stores in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and in various cities and towns in Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, Maryland, Oregon, Minnesota, California, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Employees started a sit-down strike in a new D.C. store on H Street NW.

Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg told DailyFinance that the company had heard only of the D.C. store sit-down and that it lasted approximately 15 minutes. "We recognized people [among the protesters] from various stores, including that one," Lundberg said, although he claimed they were "not the majority" of the protesters.

More Protests on Black Friday?

OUR Walmart did not make someone available for an interview before publication. Twitter posts using the hashtag #walmartstrikers purported to show images from protests at other stores, including ones in Arlington, Texas and Dallas.

Walmart workers had already submitted formal strike notices in at least six states in anticipation of actions on Black Friday, according to the Huffington Post.

OUR Walmart has publicly said that the main protests are timed for Black Friday, although it seems likely that the group will try to do something on Thanksgiving Day, as most of the stores will be open all day on Thursday as they have since 1988, according to Huffington Post.

The group has said that it plans to hold strikes and protests at 1,600 of Walmart's roughly 5,000 U.S. locations on Friday. However, it is unclear how many stores they will actually visit.

Lundberg claimed that last year protesters appeared at only approximately 300 stores in "made-for-TV" events. However, he did admit that there were "big demonstrations" at some locations that disrupted business.
Black Friday protests
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Walmart Workers Start Early Protests With D.C. Sit-Down

Walmart workers from Washington, Maryland and Virginia sit down on strike Wednesday in Walmart’s new store on H Street NW in Washington. “I know I’m risking a lot by going on strike,” Glova Scott, who is paid $10.90 working at the new store, said in a news release. “But we cannot continue to let the Waltons and Walmart retaliate against us and ignore our rights when we are calling for wages and hours that will let us feed our kids. Walmart needs to treat us with respect and dignity.”

OUR Walmart said this protest was Wednesday at a Walmart in Arlington, Texas.

Nikki Lewis, executive director of DC Jobs with Justice, said at a gathering Tuesday at a Walmart store in Washington that "Black Friday is a day when we will all come together to show the power that we have to create real change in this country."

OUR Walmart said that Wednesday's protest included Walmart stores in Washington, D.C., Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, Maryland, Oregon, Minnesota, California, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. This photo is from Dallas.
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