November 25, 2013: Walmart workers and their supporters are planning to kick off this year's holiday shopping season with protests at 1,500 Walmart stores around the country on Black Friday.
Last year, 30,000 supporters participated in Black Friday actions at Walmart and workers walked off the job in 46 states, according to OUR Walmart, the union-backed group that is organizing the actions.
This year, Our Walmart is hoping for even more supporters to turn out.
Walmart made $17 billion in profit last year—but pays wages that are so low that the Walmart store in Canton, Ohio organized a food drive so that their “associates” could have Thanksgiving Dinner.
Most Walmart store employees make less than $25,000 per year, just over the poverty line which is set at $23,550 for a family of four. Walmart defines a “full-time job” as 34 hours a week.
Low wages at just a single Walmart store could cost taxpayers $900,000 per year, because workers use social safety net programs like food stamps and government subsidized health care to make ends meet, according to a May study from congressional Democrats.
Protests have already been in several cities this month. In Los Angeles, more than 50 Walmart workers and supporters were arrested in what organizers described as the largest single act of civil disobedience in the retailer’s history.
Last week the National Labor Relations Board charged Walmart with violating labor law, for the retaliations.