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Walmart Employees Plan a Protest for Black Friday
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- Walmart employees across the country plan to walk out on Black Friday in protest. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union are demanding better pay and benefits.
In Oklahoma, Occupy OKC plans to support Walmart employees by organizing its own protest on Black Friday. According to a Facebook page, Occupy OKC will gather just outside of Walmart's property in Del City at two o'clock Friday.
"Our feeling is that any American who works hard deserves to make a living wage," said Mark Faulk of Occupy OKC.
Last year, Faulk protested the Del City Walmart with Occupy OKC over the very same labor issues that have some walmart employees planning to walk out on Black Friday.
"The fact that they're very underpaid, the fact that they earn so little on average that they qualify for public assistance," said Faulk.
Faulk says they were arrested during the demonstration, but later won a settlement.
This year, more than one million walmart associates will be working throughout the holiday weekend, but it remains to be seen how many will walk out?
Jonathan Willner teaches economics at Oklahoma City University, "The walk out could be fairly effective if you get enough of the walkers to walk out."
Willner says it would take a large strike to get Walmart's attention.
"If there's absolutely nobody there but management, then you're likely to see some significant effect on revenues and sales at those stores where you get heavy walk outs," said Willner.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Walmart says the company is not worried about massive protests: "The fact is, we do not expect these actions by a very small minority of our associates (less than .0003 percent) at a handful of stores to have any impact on our stores or our customers shopping experience on Black Friday."
As for how they compensate their employees, Walmart had this to say: "The fact is, our pay and benefits plans are as good or better than our retail competitors, including those that are unionized."
Walmart's complete statement:
We are preparing to have a great Black Friday across all of 4,000 locations in the U.S. We have a great group of associates at Walmart, in fact more than one million associates will be working throughout the holiday weekend and they're excited about our Black Friday plans this year. This is the Super Bowl for retailers and we're ready. We've been working on our Black Friday plans for almost a year now and we're prepared to have a great event. We care about our associates and our associates care about providing a great customer experience on Black Friday. We're confident that's what our associates will deliver for customers this year at Walmart.
The reality is that there are only a handful of associates, at a handful of stores scattered across the country that are participating in these UFCW made for TV events. Most of the numbers of people the UFCW claims at their events aren't even Walmart workers. They are union representatives and other union members. The super majority of our 1.3 million associates are excited about Black Friday and are ready to serve our customers. In fact, many of our associates have urged us to do something about the UFCW's latest round of publicity stunts because they don't think it's right that a few associates that are being coerced by the UFCW are being portrayed by the media as representative of what it's like to work at Walmart.
We have hard data that tells a completely different story than what a few associates may think. Consider these facts: We have 250,000 associates that have worked for the company for more than 10 years, we promoted 165,000 hourly associates last year, our turnover rate (37%) is lower than the retail industry average (44%), nearly 75% of our store management teams started out in hourly positions, and 20% of the people we hired last year were rehires--meaning they worked for Walmart, decided to leave and concluded they were getting a better deal at Walmart so they came back. The fact is, our pay and benefits plans are as good or better than our retail competitors, including those that are unionized. If they weren't, we wouldn't be able to hire people and staff our stores. Last year alone, we received 5 million job applications. We also survey our 1.3 million associates every year to gauge their job satisfaction and those numbers have been increasing over the past few years.
Of course we respect the rights of our associates to express their views but if they are scheduled to work, we expect them to show up and do their job. If they don't, depending on the circumstances, there could be consequences. We will take every situation on a case by case basis. If associates repeatedly have unexcused absences, if they purposefully disrupt the store, or create an unsafe working condition for our customers and associates, those issues will be addressed and there are a range of disciplinary actions that will be considered depending on the nature of the misconduct.
The fact is, we do not expect these actions by a very small minority of our associates (less than .0003 percent) at a handful of stores to have any impact on our stores or our customers shopping experience on Black Friday.
Kory Lundberg Director, National Media Relations
Posted: Monday, November 19 2012, 09:41 PM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Oklahoma governor to tour tornado damage
May 20, 2013 14:30 GMT
SHAWNEE, Okla. (AP) -- Gov. Mary Fallin is touring the areas hit hard by tornadoes Sunday.
The governor plans to visit Carney at 10 a.m. Monday before traveling to the Shawnee area. The governor plans to tour the Steelman Estates Mobile Home Park in Shawnee, where one person was killed.
Twenty-one people were also injured after severe weather raked the state.
The National Weather Service is forecasting more of the same for the area -- including Oklahoma City and Tulsa -- Monday afternoon and evening. Forecasters say baseball-sized hail and tornadoes are possible.
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