Wal-Mart claims best Black Friday
Scattered walk-outs and protests by Wal-Mart workers and their supporters in at least nine states may have scored symbolic points on Friday by taking on the retail giant head-on, but apparently they did little to keep shoppers away as the company quickly claimed its best Black Friday ever.
The company said in a statement Friday morning that its stores rang up almost 10 million transactions from the time doors opened for Black Friday shoppers at 8 p.m. Thursday until midnight, or about 5,000 items per second.
OUR Walmart, backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, claimed an estimated 1,000 protests were held from Thursday to Friday in 46 states, though the exact number is unclear, The Associated Press reports.
The UFCW, which is trying to organize Wal-Mart workers, said the protests included “strikes, rallies, flash mobs, direct action and other efforts to inform customers about the illegal actions that Wal-Mart has been taking against its workers.”
At one protest in Los Angeles County, sheriff's deputies began arresting demonstrators on Friday afternoon who blocked an intersection near a Wal-Mart in Paramount.
Nine people were detained after a sheriff's helicopter broadcast an order to disperse. KPCC-FM says three are current Wal-Mart employees, one is a worker's family member, one is a former employee, and the four others are clergy members. No force was used, the sheriff's department said.
Hundreds of other protesters, the majority of whom CBS said were not Wal-Mart associates, descended on the scene and sat down at the intersection of Century and Lakewood boulevards. A sheriff's spokesman said the protest had grown to more than 1,000 people by noon.
One woman, who said she and a colleague walked out from a Wal-Mart in Laurel, Md., said the key issues were wages and alleged retaliation against workers who complain about working conditions.
“We work hard, so we just want a decent wage,” the unidentified woman told CNN.
Wal-Mart denies that it retaliates against workers.