Walmart Black Friday Strike: Could It Slay the Retail Giant? [VIDEO]

Walmart Black Friday strike

Walmart workers have already begun striking at scattered stores across the country, as part of the 1,000 protests planned this week culminating on Black Friday. Venanzi Luna, a Walmart associate in Pico Rivera, Calif., took time out from her strike to join us for a live panel discussion. Luna was joined in conversation by a conservative and a left-leaning policy analyst, the author of a Walmart book, and a Walmart associate in Fort Worth, Texas. It quickly turned more raucous than the protest chants outside (watch the full video below), as the group debated whether the strike was justified.

Some background: The Walmart strikes this week are part of a new strategy for Walmart organizers, which have in the past focused -- unsuccessfully -- on organizing individual Walmart stores. Even Walmart hasn't been able to ignore the national scope and media attention of this latest effort. The big box chain filed a labor charge with the National Labor Relations Board last week, seeking to stop OUR Walmart (the acronym stands for Organization United for Respect), one of the groups behind the strike, from following through on its threats.

The organizers say their strike is in protest against unfair labor practices, and so is legally protected. They fired back with its own labor charge on Tuesday, accusing Walmart of intimidating workers from taking part. Federal officials said they may decide on Thursday whether to issue an injunction to prevent the Black Friday strike from taking place.

But if the strike procedes, will it really accomplish anything? Why are the Walmart workers striking now? Do they have the right to do what they're doing? Why don't the frustrated Walmart workers just "find a new job," as one of the panelists proposed? And can Walmart improve the conditions for its workers while still providing the lowest prices -- the philosophy that turned Walmart, over the last 50 years, into the largest retailer and employer in the country?

These were among the questions addressed by the panel. (Walmart declined to participate.) The panelists were:

  • Dan Schlademan, director of Making Change at Walmart.

  • Billy Lyons, a Walmart associate in Fort Worth.

  • Venanzi Luna, a striking Walmart associate in Pico Rivera, Calif.

  • Matt Patterson, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Economic Freedom, who has written extensively on labor politics in The Washington Examiner, The American Spectator, Fox News and others.

  • Charles Fishman, award-winning business journalist and author of the bestselling book "The Walmart Effect."

  • Catherine Ruetschlin, a policy analyst at Demos, a left-leaning think tank.

See the highlights of the Hangout below:

Walmart Strike - Perspectives - Highlights

The panelists touched on everything from labor rights, unions, corporate responsibility, the free market and the civil rights movement.

Watch the entire conversation below:

Walmart Strike - Perspectives

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merry christmas to the walmart union ppeople go on strike you lazy socialist pigs have a happy christmas for your children what morons

November 23 2012 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diane Korczyk Porter

Why isit the employees in Germany can have a union and they get 36 paid vacation days each year. Open your eyes Walmart employees. The Big shots say they will work for fre, no salary. Yet they do not tell you they also receive millions of dollars in stock which they sell back to the company at a premium. Yet Walmart will not buy the stocks back from a low level employee and when you try to sell them all the brokers offer way less than what you paid for them. Tell them to keep their low level stocks and to start paying you premium salaries. Give you insurance start acting like Sam Walton and they will not be so hated and will be more successful. I am anti-Walmart. Go to Target I say. They pay their employees so little they have no choice but to spend their paychecks at Walmart. Does Walmart charge their employees for cashing their checks at their stores? I heard a rumor they wanted to open banks in Walmart. What next? Blood and promises of first borns. If you have a chance get out of Walmart.

November 22 2012 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Diane Korczyk Porter's comment

I've been buying and selling Walmart stock since 1998, both employee stock share and privately purchased, they all sell the same. I haven't worked there since 2000, but my insurance is still a Walmart plan. My 401k is also matched at 7% by Walmart. I understand that you are anti-Walmart, and somehow pro Target (that's just funny), but at least know why you are.

November 25 2012 at 11:49 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

How long did it take you to make all that stuff up???

November 27 2012 at 2:53 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Ryan Mouk

I hope this opens the eyes of these parasites. Making us work on Holidays for pay that would embarrass a prison inmate. You pay us like crap we will work like crap. Treat us like trash and we will run you into the ground. You may have given us a job but without the employees you have no business. Try practicing your so-called values such as respect for the individual. We have families. We like spending time with them and if the masses of sub human parasites frothing over a stand mixer for 5 bucks don't like it I am sure we can try to care.

November 22 2012 at 9:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

and BTW boycott any company that tries to avoid health insurance by reducing employees hours...Applebee's Papa John's and many would be nice if a hospital charged 2.00 for 2 tylenol instead of 200.00 for $.04 of ingredients

November 22 2012 at 9:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert Snodgrass

I was fired by Walmart for reporting a managers abuse of a handicapped female employee, a serious safety hazard, and contacting the NLRB. Everybody knows what Walmart did to me. The sheer obviousness of my case alone is unquestionable, along with eyewitness statements to the retaliation, and documented proof, including a police statement,of Walmarts intentional defamation, obstruction of justice, and deliberate lying to Federal agents in order to have the case dissmissed.
As a result of my doing the right thing and standing up for the Civil, and Basic inherent Human rights of my colleagues, which they were afraid to do for themselves, I have lost my job, nearly 10 of the last prime years of my life invested in the company, and any hope of ever retiring in my lifetime. Truthfully and Sincerely, Robert Snodgrass, 715 Taylor rd. Downingtown, Pa. 19335,

"No American Citizen Should Have to Live With a Fear in Their Heart of Reporting Abuse of Another Human Being in the Workplace." by Me

November 22 2012 at 2:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Robert Snodgrass's comment

None of those were police items

November 27 2012 at 2:55 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I got news for you all. Retail is retail, no matter which company you want to talk about. As for the girl in the car;: She said she needed to take her lunch on time instead of helping the customer. Um, if it weren't for that customer, she wouldn't have a job! The money the customer spends in her store helps pay the company, which in turn pays her! I feel that any company needs to treat their associates fairly. Not many don't.

November 22 2012 at 12:01 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

to sylvlab123 Your responses show your total ignorance on how a business works. 1. A business is started to produce and or sell a product(s) to make money, not to provide high wages, health care or retirement benefits for any employees. You are hired to either produce and/or sell products that the company has. 2. If you meet the requirements and are hired by said company, then you will have agreed to the terms of employment. 3. .Unions have one purpose, to MAKE MONEY off of their members. This money goes to political hacks who use that money to further those hacks ideals. Not every union member wants their money going to said hacks and are offended by these tactics but have little or no sayso in where that money goes. Not very fair is it . Unions are nothing more than legalized extortion, you pay them so you can work there, nothing more, nothing less. Since you like to throw out figures try this one on for size. Of the total private sector jobs only 15% are unionized. Yes, that means the other 85% are not. So before you spout off again about how much money WalMart does or doesn't make, then maybe you should go back to school and learn how businesses work. One little hint on how things work, a lot of that profit goes right back into building new stores, improving exsisting ones and HIRING NEW EMPLOYEES to staff those stores.

November 21 2012 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Shaun's comment

Shaun, you must be a Walmart exec.
I was a union member for many years and the dues I paid enabled me to have representation at negotiations to better my lot as the years went on. Remember, even union reps need to make a living wage.
In return for my dues I had decent work conditions, fair wages, full paid health and welfare and a retirement plan that along with SS has allowed me to retire with dignity.
Perhaps you should find a union you are qualified to join.

November 22 2012 at 12:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I work for a national retail chain and totally Ms. Luna and her efforts!

November 21 2012 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to phillipsbaron's comment

correction: totally support and applaud Ms. Luna

November 21 2012 at 11:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen Braun

As someone who went to college, got good grades and tried my hardest.....the unions in this nation have become such a destructive thing in America and in an economy that sacrifice seems to not be felt by union workers in the same way as non unions. My pay is stagnent, insurance copays increase, etc, etc. no wonder hostess and detroit died due to the greedy union class

November 21 2012 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

These parasites that ar choosing to strike are disgusting!! I have NEVER shopped at WalMart or any ohter store on Black Friday, but because of the efforts of these lazy excuses of humanity, I will definitely make a point of going out on Friday to shop specifically at WalMart!!

November 21 2012 at 11:46 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to richman99's comment
Robert Snodgrass

hey, did you ever think about how dumb and senseless the things you say are. you are truly a brainless idiot. Go to Walmart, thats where you belong .

November 22 2012 at 2:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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