Walmart workers in the Seattle area plan to mount a one-day walkout strike on Tuesday morning, Salon’s Josh Eidelson reports.
The strike comes less than a week after company workers similarly went on strike in Los Angeles. That group was joined by supporters at a protest to demand a minimum of $25,000 a year for all workers, an end to retaliation against striking or unionizing workers, and more full-time positions. More than 50 workers and supporters were later arrested after a demonstration of civil disobedience. Another strike took place in Miami in October, with dozens of employees walking out on the job, the first work stoppage since June.
All of these actions come before activists are promising another wave of strikes and protests on Black Friday following a massive day of action on the same day last year. Organizers say last year’s demonstrations drew around 400 strikers.
In response to Tuesday’s action, a Walmart spokesperson told ThinkProgress, “If it’s anything like what we saw in LA, there will be very few associates participating.” Activists have yet to release numbers on how many workers, or what the company calls associates, went on strike last week. He also noted that many current workers haven’t participated in past strikes because “they understand that Walmart provides associates with more opportunities for career growth and greater economic security for their families than other companies in America.”
The company recently divulged that the majority of its in-store workers make less than $25,000 a year, and its low wages mean that workers in a single location consume about $1 million in public benefits to get by. It has been accused on various occasions of retaliating against those who go on strike with terminations or disciplinary measures, and the company has also admitted to telling workers who look into forming a union that their benefits could disappear. While the company claims that the majority of its workforce is full time, a recent survey found over half of its locations only hiring temporary workers. In fact, the lack of a full-time workforce had been hurting sales to the point that the company decided to add more positions ahead of the holiday season.
While workers say they will strike on Black Friday, others will be made to show up to work. Walmart joined a growing list of other retailers who aren’t waiting for the day after Thanksgiving to open their doors to holiday shoppers, meaning about a million workers will have to show up to work rather than have dinner with their families.