20 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by greghambrick
Patch Instagram photo by patch

Fredericksburg Walmart May Be Strike Free

Walmart employees in DC and elsewhere are protesting after learning "Black Friday" store hours start at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

Fredericksburg Walmart May Be Strike Free Fredericksburg Walmart May Be Strike Free Fredericksburg Walmart May Be Strike Free Fredericksburg Walmart May Be Strike Free

Walmart workers across the country are striking due to the stores opening earlier this year for the Black Friday weekend.

Walmart workers in Fredericksburg do not have plans to strike.  "We're quite satisfied with what we have," said a staff member Wednesday afternoon.  Associates were stocking the aisles with deals for Black Friday, with signs posted on the boxes telling customers, "These items not for sale at this time."

Casey Hoag, a campaign communications specialist for The United Food and Commercial Workers, said at the moment, there aren't any strikes planned in Northern Virginia. Between last week and Thanksgiving, more than 1,000 worksite actions took place nationwide.

Walmart employees all over the country have been striking for the past few months in protest to being silenced, long hours and little pay and issues with healthcare.

"These nationwide actions are all stemming from employee frustrations. The average associate makes $8.18 an hour. Walmart makes $16 billion in annual profits and executives bring home $10 million each," said Hoag in a recent email. "Surely Walmart can stop contributing to the growing problem of income disparity and start listening to the concerns of their workforce."

In early October, Walmart strike supporters spoke out at the Kingstowne Walmart and passed out flyers informing customers about the employees' concerns. The group visited different stores throughout that week to raise awareness.

"This is happening at about 250 stores and there are just as many workers who have walked off their jobs,” said Beth Pointer, an organizer for Making Change at Walmart.

In October, associates leading the strikes originally gave Walmart until Black Friday to meet their demands, including an opportunity to discuss their concerns with management and the end of alleged retaliations for speaking out. However, Walmart employees have continued to strike at different locations across the country.

Target Responds to Backlash Over Thanksgiving Hours

Target has also received some backlash, after announcing stores would open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. According to DailyFinance, employees and supporters started a petition against the early opening at online petition site Change.org.

On Nov. 16, Target responded to the campaign on " A Bullseye View," its official blog. The post explains the early Thanksgiving Day opening plan was created after they received feedback from customers, who said they would prefer shopping right after Thanksgiving dinner instead of in the early hours on Friday. It also insists that Target employees' preferences were considered in making Thanksgiving work schedules.

Unlike Walmart, Target isn't facing organized labor actions during the Black Friday weekend, so at the moment, they're not budging on their early holiday openings.

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