Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Online petition over Walmart Thanksgiving opening reaches more than 33,000 signatures

Are you going to visit Walmart on Nov. 23, 2012, also known as Black Friday? While the retail giant's Black Friday ad is, of course, the biggest leak of the season, stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, interrupting the lives of its workers.

Not everyone will go: an online petition by progressive site MoveOn.org has reached more than 33,000 signatures by early Tuesday. The petition's organizer wants to reach 40,000 signatures (which is a raised goal, showing the popularity of the issue) before delivering it to Rob Walton, president of Walmart.

Mary Pat Tifft, who has been a Walmart associate of 24 years, started the petition after the company's announcement that it would open stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. That is two hours earlier than in 2011; Walmart opened outlets at 10 p.m. last Thanksgiving. Here's what the petition says:
I am disappointed at the announcement that Walmart stores will start sales at 8 pm on Thanksgiving Day to get a few steps in front of the competition. Walmart makes profits of more than 16 billion yearly. The company can afford to give its employees this holiday to spend with their families.

This early opening is one more example of Walmart’s disregard for its employees. As the largest employer in the country, Walmart could be setting a standard for businesses to value families, but instead, this is another Walmart policy decision that hurts the families of workers at its stores.

I urge you to give Walmart employees their holiday back. That’s why we’re here supporting workers and calling for change. Our country needs Walmart and big corporations to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Walmart has a responsibility as the country’s largest employer to create good jobs. Walmart can do the right thing, and give Thanksgiving back and allow workers to spend time with their families.
While it remains to be seen if they will follow through, Walmart workers currently plan to strike at 1,000 store locations across the country on Black Friday 2012. The planned walkouts come after Walmart's first-ever retail workers strikes last month, which spread to stores in 12 cities.

Walmart, not one to let this protest stand uncontested, has filed a complaint against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which claims it’s behind the protests. The compliant alleges that the protests constitute unfair labor practices, and asks the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to halt the strikes.

Walmart calls the strikes an unlawful disruption of its business. Isn't that what strikes are meant to be?

Will you shop at Walmart on Thanksgiving evening? Answer the poll below.

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