Black Friday roars in its ugly head normally a day following the day in which Americans celebrate what they are most thankful for. Over the past few years however, this day has arrived earlier and earlier. Stores were opening at 3 a.m. and then on midnight end of Thanksgiving/ Friday morning. This year Wal-Mart is opening up at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night, and it is not without protest from the employees.
The term “black Friday” originates from a time when stores went from being in the ‘red’ to making a profit, or ‘in the black’.
Protest actions from Wal-Mart employees over the latest disregard of them as human beings are taking place in at least 12 cities nationwide. These protests began on Nov. 15 in California, and were followed by stores in Seattle. The walk-out designed to go up to Black Friday is organized by the Union backed (UFCW-United Food & Commercial Workers) campaign “Making Change at Wal-Mart”.
Wal-Mart employees over 1 million workers, but hundreds of thousands still make poverty wages (according to Glassdoor.com the average employee earns 8.83 an hour which if 40 hours are worked, 52 weeks a year, translates to about 18,400 a year) despite working full-time. Medical premiums have continued to rise (for those who even receive them) not alongside wages, causing employees to be further burdened by being employed. A larger majority needs to supplement with the SNAP, or food stamp program. Meanwhile the 6 members of the Walton family receive over 93 billion as majority share-holders in the company. Wal-Mart also brings in a record in 16 Billion in PROFITS, (paying the top CEO’s 10 million apiece) hence the reason why employees who do the most work, probably are rightfully upset.
Making Change director Dan Schlademan stated “Walk outs are planned for Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Milwaukee and Miami, and there will be work stoppages across Minnesota, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi.”
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Wal-Mart isn’t the only company forcing employees in. Toys R Us, Target, Sears, Macys , Victoria’s Secret and Best Buy to name a few are opening as early as 8 p.m..
As of Wednesday November 14 over 200,000 Target employees and customers signed a petition at Change.org requesting Target to move their 9 p.m. black Friday time. “Not only is this unfair to the employees, it isn’t fair to people who want the good deals but don’t want to miss out on Thanksgiving or have to leave early to get them.” stated customer Vikki Smith.
Thanksgiving is a day to be grateful of course, and sometimes you may become grateful when you leave a job over having one that is detrimental to your health and ability to achieve “the American dream”. Black Friday is becoming a mockery to this idea, when more and more people have to give up their holiday (one of the three family holidays that exist all year) and lose out on sleep, to just make a company like Wal-Mart more rich. Perhaps if they were a true company, then their workers would benefit, and their success would be something to be thankful for.