Several employees of the Laurel/Maryland City Walmart Supercenter are joining a national strike effort this Black Friday to protest what they view as low wages, poor scheduling practices, and worker intimidation on the part of the retail giant.
The campaign, organized by Making Change at Walmart and linked with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, is planning demonstrations outside dozens of stores nationwide on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
In the D.C. area, Nov. 23 protests are scheduled for Walmart and Sam's Club locations in Laurel, Hyattsville, Bowie, Gaithersburg, Woodlawn, Severn, Clinton, Abingdon, Alexandria, and Fairfax. (Both chains are owned by parent company Walmart Stores, Inc.)
The strike action follows a series of demonstrations last month at Walmarts across the country and around the region, including a walkout of 11 employees at the Laurel store.
Walmart has characterized the campaign as an attempt by unions to advance their own political agendas, arguing that it treats and compensates its employees well.
"We have some of the best jobs in retail," spokesman David Tovar told the New York Times in October. "Our full-time average wage is $12.54 an hour, which is $5.00 above the federal minimum wage."