Holiday tradition aside, Black Friday seems to have become a display of the worst aspects of American consumerism in recent years — complete with huge mobs, long lines and violent clashes over “door-buster” discounts put on by Big Box retailers. But this year, thousands of community leaders and everyday shoppers gathered at Walmart locations across the country with a different purpose in mind: supporting workers’ rights.
Community groups came together to protest a pattern of serious abuses at Walmart — from poverty-level wages and huge spikes in healthcare costs to unsafe working conditions and illegal retaliation against workers when they speak out. They made their voices heard through marches, protests and other demonstrations at Walmart stores across the country, standing arm-in-arm with the Walmart Associates who are under attack.
Here in Massachusetts, dozens of current and former Walmart workers, labor leaders and community allies gathered outside the retail giant’s store in Quincy to send a message that was impossible to miss. With hundreds of Walmart customers and workers gathered outside, advocates projected a series of 30-foot illuminated images onto the store’s façade to highlight the Associates’ fight for respect at the workplace.
Check out this video of community leader Darrin Howell leading activists in a “mic check” in support of Walmart workers in Quincy:
The local actions, staged at all 48 Bay State Walmarts, came as striking Walmart workers walked off the job in more than 100 cities nationwide to highlight the company’s continued attempts to silence employees’ voices . Community, faith and labor leaders stood in solidarity with the workers at over 1,000 Walmart warehouses and retail locations throughout Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, generating hundreds of stories in newspapers, radio and television stations across the country.
One thing is for certain: the call for meaningful change at Walmart rang loud and clear Black Friday, and soon the retail giant will have no choice but to listen. The ranks of workers’ rights organizations like OUR Walmart and Warehouse Workers United continue to grow each and every day, not to mention the groundswell of community support. At MassUniting, we’re proud to stand with them in the fight for justice at Walmart!