Walmart shoppers planning their annual stampede on Black Friday will find they have new company in the early morning hours: striking workers with picket signs!
Walmart is notorious for resisting unionization attempts and allegedly retaliating against those who demand better pay, health care, and more hours.
As such, workers are planning to strike or conduct some other form of protest outside at least 1,000 locations across the United States on Black Friday.
This should add a new dimension of chaos to an already harrowing day at the chain.
The idea, naturally, is to get in the faces of shoppers and on the television cameras of reporters on the retail behemoth’s most visible and important day.
On Black Friday, Walmart would surely prefer people were talking about the $75 gift card that comes with the iPad 2 than whether it's treating workers fairly.
It's also a day that economists size up for weeks afterward as an indicator of consumer confidence and a harbinger of this holiday season’s likely profits.
But will it work? Will the corporate giant bow to labor leaders’ attempts to raise awareness about its treatment of workers? Will the general public care?
Stories about the strikes have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, on National Public Radio, the Huffington Post, and many other outlets.
Workers are getting the attention they crave, the chance to tell the world about what they call unfair labor conditions, and Walmart is getting terrible PR.
To what effect? This is a saga that may play out long beyond Black Friday.
“We want Walmart to take seriously the concerns being raised,” said Tom Geiger, a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. “
"The endgame is for workers to have a voice in the workplace.”