AirTalk for November 21, 2012

Walmart employees to continue strike on Black Friday

Black Friday Shoppers Chase Deals At Wal-Mart, Best Buy

Matthew Staver, Bloomberg/Getty

Black Friday shoppers chase deals at Walmart.

This week, Walmart employees at distribution centers and stores all over the country have gone on strike. Workers have decided to go on strike due to what they see as Walmart’s aggressive retaliation to their efforts to organize a labor union.

Employees allege that if they discuss unions or join labor groups they are often terminated or have their shifts cut down significantly.

Walmart, currently the largest private employer in the world, sets the standard for retail outlets across the board and how they treat their workers. Thus, the first strike in Walmart’s history will have a significant impact one way or the other for the entire industry.

However, it won’t just be the company and workers who are affected; consumers are also going to be in the spotlight given that the strike is occurring at the same time as the busiest shopping day of the year.

That’s right, customers trying to exploit some Black Friday deals and discounts are likely to be faced with picketing Walmart employees upon entering the store.

How will seeing a group of striking workers affect your shopping experience? Will you seek out another Walmart or store which isn’t the site of a strike? What local stores are being targeted by labor organizers? How are the workers strategizing and making the most out of their resources? Do you see this as a pain in the neck, or do you sympathize with the Walmart employees?

Meanwhile, labor issues could cause travel pains at LAX, where the union representing airport workers has organized a protest today. SEIU Local 1877, which includes baggage handlers, security officers, janitors, and ground crew, has rallied 1,000 marchers to clog the airport on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

LAX is the second most frequented airport on this heavy travel day, after Chicago’s O’Hare. How will the airport action impact holiday travel plans? Is it understandable for workers to protest on such an important day? Will it garner support for their cause?

Guests:  

Corey Moore, KPCC reporter covering the protest at LAX

Guadalupe Palma, organizer with Warehouse Workers United who is working on the Walmart strike

Greg Fletcher, local Walmart worker 

Matt DeBord
, KPCC Reporter; writes the DeBord Report KPCC.org


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