Walmart had its best Black Friday ever, according to The Sacramento Bee.
Walmart’s Black Friday plan included three events this year at 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. During the high traffic period from 8 p.m. through midnight, Walmart processed nearly 10 million register transactions and almost 5,000 items per second.
But what happened to the protests that were supposed to happen yesterday, that was supposed to include Walmart employees? The protests were arranged in conjunction with United Food and Commercial Worker’s Union, as an effort to bring attention to the number of employees making less than $10 per hour, as well as the issue of affordability of health care benefits and workers being given more schedules short of full-time.
The Bee quotes a Walmart spokesperson:
In response to the UFCW’s planned protests, Simon added, “Only 26 protests occurred at stores last night and many of them did not include any Walmart associates.” In addition, the company did not experience the walk-offs that were promised by the UFCW. “We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide. In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year,” Simon said.
One employee of a Los Angeles-area Walmart explains the ways in which Walmart’s policies negatively impact his life, and how it only seems to get worse. CNN Money quotes 28 year-old Dan Hindman:
Hindman, who says he makes $9.80 an hour and works a varied schedule, says he is speaking out because “How they treat us isn’t fair.” Next year, he says that his insurance premiums, about $106 every two weeks, will increase by more than one-third. At the same time, Wal-Mart is cutting back its contributions.
“I can’t spend Christmas with my four-year-old son. Now it’s Thanksgiving. I thought when I was hired that there was a future with Wal-Mart,” he says. “The community needs to know what is going on. Wal-Mart is part of the community.”
Even so, Hindman says his hours for next week already have been cut back significantly, which he believes is retaliation for speaking out.
In that case, a man making $9.80 per hour, working 40 hours per week makes approximately $1500 per month, paying out about $216 per month for insurance. Put into perspective with how much money Walmart made in their best Black Friday ever, it’s not hard to imagine why the Walmart employees and their supporters are deeply troubled and want change.
So what do you think went wrong, and what needs to change so that Walmart can continue to be profitable (and therefore provide all those jobs, which are necessary) while providing a fair living wage for its employees?
Should more of the employees have walked out, risking their jobs, in order to make change?
AP Photo/Nick Ut