Walmart Workers Set to Hold Black Friday Protests

Walmart (NYSE: WMT) workers and their supporters are organizing protests at 1,500 Walmart stores around the country on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, to express concerns over low wages, poor working conditions and alleged illegal retaliation against workers.

This year's protests will outnumber the 1,100 rallies held last year. Advocacy groups Organization United for Respect at Walmart, or OUR Walmart, and Making Change at Walmart are calling for improved labor standards, such as providing employees with more full-time work to make at least $25,000 a year. Organizers also plan to express concern over what happened at protests on Black Friday last year, when many Walmart managers threatened and discouraged workers from going on legally protected strikes.

"We do expect [the protests] to be larger than last year because we have so many more members and so much more community support," said Dan Schadelman, campaign director for Making a Change at Walmart, another advocacy group focusing on the rights of Walmart workers, in a conference call Thursday. "We're at an exciting moment, the movement of low-wage workers has taken off in 2013."

Protests have already occurred in multiple cities this month, most notably in Los Angeles, where more than 50 Walmart workers and supporters were arrested in what organizers described as the largest single act of civil disobedience in the retailer's history.

The protests come on the heels of news last week that federal officials are ready to bring a case against Walmart for allegedly retaliating against workers who staged Black Friday protests last year. The National Labor Relations Board also said Walmart stores in more than a dozen states "unlawfully threatened, disciplined, and/or terminated employees" who participated in legal strikes and protests.

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