HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT) – Officials at America’s largest retailer brushed off reports of a planned worker strike on Black Friday, saying there would be no impact on any Wal-Mart stores in north Alabama.
Wal-Mart’s 1.3 million member workforce is not unionized, but a union-backed group that’s speaking on behalf of disgruntled employees said thousands of them will protest across the nation on Black Friday. OUR Walmart said the workers it is representing have a list of demands that include higher wages and fair schedules.
OUR Walmart officials told WHNT News 19 it was unclear if there would be strikes at any north Alabama locations. Wal-Mart workers we spoke to off-camera said they were not aware of any strikes or protests in Huntsville, while the company itself said they were confident there would be no protests anywhere in north Alabama.
“None of those [affected] stores are located in Alabama,” said Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg, who spoke with WHNT News 19 from Wal-Mart corporate offices in Bentonville, Arkansas. “Our customers in Huntsville, our customers across the state of Alabama, they’re not going to see anything unusual when they go to shop Thanksgiving night or Black Friday at Wal-Mart… We don’t expect these actions by a very small minority of our associates at just a handful of stores scattered across the country to have any impact on our customers’ shopping experience on Black Friday.”
According to OUR Walmart’s website, the only confirmed strike so far in Alabama is at a store in suburban Birmingham.
Wal-Mart filed a complaint last week with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and its OUR Walmart subsidiary unlawfully organized picket lines and other demonstrations in the last six months. Wal-Mart said only a few hundred of its 1.3 million employees will actually demonstrate on Black Friday.
Wal-Mart stores will be open on Thanksgiving, with Black Friday specials actually starting at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night.