Wal-Mart files lawsuit against organizers of 'Black Friday' boycott
Wal-Mart claims that unions have unjustly disrupted business
Wal-Mart has taken legal action against its organized labor opponents, who have called for a boycott on "Black Friday" - the day after Thanksgiving, and one of the busiest shopping days of the holiday season - for what they claim are unfair business practices.
A strike at a Wal-Mart store in Los Angeles in October spread to stores in 12 other cities. Local and national leaders then began holding protests at more than 200 stores for better pay, fairer schedules and more affordable health care.
According to the Wall Street Journal Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer employs roughly 1.3 million U.S. workers. The company is asking the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for an injunction against the rallies and pickets that have sprung up at stores nationwide.
"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 workers have long protested of low wages, poor working conditions and inadequate health benefits. Wal-Mart employees have begun walking off the job last week ahead of Black Friday, when three union-backed groups expect thousands of protests nationwide.
"Wal-Mart is doing everything in its power to attempt to silence our voice," Colby Harris, who works at a Wal-Mart store in Texas, says. "But nothing - not even this baseless unfair labor practice charge - will stop us from speaking out."
A strike at a Wal-Mart store in Los Angeles in October spread to stores in 12 other cities. Local and national leaders then began holding protests at more than 200 stores for better pay, fairer schedules and more affordable health care. Wal-Mart workers have since walked off the job in Dallas and Richmond, California, and other upcoming strikes and protests are expected at stores in Chicago, Miami, Milwaukee and Washington, D.C.
Three groups - Making Change at Wal-Mart, OUR Wal-Mart and watchdog group Corporate Action Network, are now calling on the nation's largest employer to end what they claim are retaliatory tactics against dissenting Wal-Mart employees.
Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman speaking on Fox News characterized the movement as "another exaggerated publicity campaign aimed at generating headlines to mislead" customers and employees.
"We have a great group of associates at Wal-Mart," Fogleman said. "We'll have more than one million associates working throughout the holiday weekend, and they're excited about our Black Friday plans this year. 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. Our associates care about providing a great customer experience on Black Friday, and we're confident that's what customers will have at Wal-Mart this year."
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