Walmart Workers vs. Capitalism: The Rise of 'Black November'

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The Guardian

Walmart Workers vs. Capitalism: The Rise of 'Black November'

As stores open earlier each year to bring Black Friday deals to their customers, Thanksgiving becomes less of a holiday for many households, and Black Friday is a day of protest for some Walmart workers and a workday for others

A Walmart worker being arrested last month at a protest in New York calling on Walmart’s owners to stop robbing workers a fair wage and passing the bill on to taxpayers. A national effort aimed at Walmart's low-wages and mistreatment of workers has grown rapidly in recent years. (Photo: UFCW/flickr/cc)

In the seven years that she has worked for Walmart, Venanzi Luna, 35, has started a new tradition. She doesn’t cook a turkey. She doesn’t set a table. She doesn’t give thanks for the most important things in her life.

Instead, each Thanksgiving, she puts on her uniform and goes to work.

“I work every year for Thanksgiving. I think it’s part of the territory. It is a retail company,” says Luna, who works as full-time deli department manager. Having been with the company for so long – earning a 20-cent-per-hour raise each year, and rising to department manager – she is now making $14.05 an hour.

To Luna, Walmart’s Thanksgiving hours suggest the company thinks more about its profits than its associates. But, she reasons, work is work.

“Some people volunteer to work, some people are forced to work. It’s our job. We take care of the customers, but at the same time, I’d wish to have Thanksgiving with my family,” she says. After a brief pause, she continues, “I haven’t had Thanksgiving with them in seven years. Or a Christmas.”

Luna, while keeping her job, is making Walmart hear her. She participated in a sit-in, joined the protest group OUR Walmart, and while she’s working on Thanksgiving, she has big plans for the day after Thanksgiving: a Black Friday protest in front of the Los Angeles store where she’s a manager.

Read the full article at The Guardian.

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