As Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) workers plan to strike on Black Friday, the company is fighting back.
On Thursday, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) began their fight by filing a complaint with a federal agency accusing the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) of “unlawfully organizing picket lines, in-store “flash mobs” and other demonstrations in the past six months,” reported CNN.
In addition, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) believes that UFCW and its subsidiary, OUR Walmart, is attempting to force the company into collective bargaining; the UFCW is the representative for more than a million meat packers and food industry works, but it is not Wal-Mart’s official union for employees.
The company has said the workers’ actions are in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. This has a picketing prohibition for any period over 30 days without the filing of a representation petition.
On Friday, in a letter to UFCW’s general council, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) attorney Steven Wheeless wrote, “The UFCW has orchestrated numerous pickets, mass demonstrations, flash mobs, and other confrontational activities both inside and outside Wal-Mart facilities in support of its bargaining and recognition demands. Now, with the busiest shopping season of the year just days away, the UFCW is openly orchestrating and promoting attempted mass disruptions of Wal-Mart’s customer shopping experience.”
Wal-Mart’s complaint follows its workers’ plans to hold nationwide walkouts on Black Friday. This comes as OUR Walmart, Making Change at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), and the watchdog Corporate Action Network have asked the company to stop “retaliation” against employees asking for improved pay, schedules, and affordable health care.
The strike is also a protest by Walmart workers across 1,000 U.S. locations, who have expressed anger that company stores will open on Thanksgiving Day at 8 p.m. Stores in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles may have strikes beginning as early as Monday, reported ABC News.com.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) has said that 1 million sales associates are expected to work during the upcoming holiday weekend, including 50,000 workers who had been hired as seasonal ones.
Kory Lundberg, director of National Media Relations for Walmart, responded to ABCNews.com, “This is the Super Bowl for retailers and we’re ready. We’ve been working on our Black Friday plans for almost a year now, and we’re prepared to have a great event. We respect the rights of our associates to express their views, but if they are scheduled to work, we expect them to show up and do their job.”
Friday’s walkouts will also come after a Los Angeles Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) strike in October that migrated to 12 additional cities and included over 100 workers.
As for other retailers starting Black Friday early this year, it appears to be a trend.
According to ABC News, Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) will open at 9 p.m. on Thursday, while Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) will be ready for business at 8 p.m.
Kmart workers may have it tougher: their stores are open on Thanksgiving Day from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will close for four hours and then reopen at 8 p.m., while Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M), Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS), and Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) open at midnight.