Walmart stores on Black Friday
For days, speculation has surrounded the protests set for Black Friday by United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, wherein demonstrations were staged to include walk-offs by Walmart employees in all 50 states, which would potentially have slowed Black Friday sales at Walmart. Protest organizers sought to shed light on unfair labor conditions at the world’s largest retailer.
Reportedly, less than 50 employees participated in the demonstrations in the U.S. at nine stores, and Walmart reports that 22 million consumers have shopped for Black Friday deals in stores already.
Not the walk-off situation expected
Those demonstrations that did take place included many non-Walmart employees, mostly union organizers. In a statement, Bill Simon, CEO of Walmart said in a statement that only 26 protests took place last night and that the company did not walk off as threatened. Originally, 100 cities were expected to go on strike.
Simon notes that roughly the same number of workers missed their shift as last year.
Protests didn’t slow sales
“Walmart has spent the last 50 years pushing its way on workers and communities,” Mary Pat Tifft, a 24-year associate who led a protest Thursday night said in a statement issued by UFCW. “In just one year, leaders of OUR Walmart and Warehouse Workers United have begun to prove that change is coming to the world’s largest employer.”
Walmart reports it has had its best ever crowds for Black Friday, processing nearly 10 million register transactions and close to 5,000 items per second between 8pm through midnight.
“We had very safe and successful Black Friday events at our stores across the country and heard overwhelmingly positive feedback from our customers,” Simon said.
The company said in a statement that they are recognizing associates who helped serve customers during its Black Friday events, the company is providing an additional 10 percent discount on an entire basket of goods. Eligible associates who helped execute Walmart’s Black Friday events will also receive holiday pay.