A day after Walmart employees held the first-ever sit-in targeting the world’s largest retailer, workers promised to stage the biggest Black Friday protest in history.
“The constant struggle Walmart has created for families is not acceptable. It’s also holding back the next generation from the opportunities and fair shake they deserve,” Stephanie Ly, AFT New Mexico president and a teacher, said on a press call on Friday. Ly added that the upcoming strike will be the “largest mobilizing of working families we’ve seen in recent history,” with “tens of thousands” expected to take part.
Those employees will come from more than 1,600 stores around the country. Thousands more have signed petitions asking for higher wages and better working conditions.
Barbara Gertz, who works at a Walmart in Denver, Colorado, said that the strike is for more than their rights as workers—it is also for their right to speak out.
“Every time one of us speaks out for change, we take the risk that Walmart will fire us,” Gertz said. “That’s not right and that’s not legal. That’s why we’re going on strike.”
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Venanci Lune, a worker at an L.A. Walmart store and OUR Walmart member, told Common Dreams on Thursday that employees “have no voice. Any time we have an action, or speak up for our rights, they retaliate by cutting your hours, giving you three days off, or making you stressed to the point where you want to quit.”
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