CWS 3.0: November 28, 2012

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Walmart: Black Friday Successful Despite Protests

Walmart reported its post-Thanksgiving “Black Friday” events were a success despite labor action by some in-store workers and contingent workers employed at warehouses serving the retail giant.

A group called Warehouse Workers United said workers in Southern California went on strike Nov. 14 to “call for an end to retaliation and unfair labor practices.” The workers were employed by a company called NFI and a temporary labor agency called Warestaff, according to the group.

The Southern California warehouse labor action came as the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union was planning a strike for Black Friday — one of the busiest retail days of the year. It’s the day after Thanksgiving, although Black Friday events now encompass a portion of Thanksgiving day as well.

The union claimed store workers walked off their jobs last Thursday and Friday in Miami, Dallas, Wisconsin and the Bay Area in California. The union said workers in more than 100 cities were expected to go on strike.

However, Walmart reported only 26 protests had occurred at stores on Thursday night and that most did not include Walmart associates.

“We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide,” said Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and CEO. “In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year.”

There have been contentions between Walmart, its workers and contingent workers at warehouses that serve Walmart. Recently, contingent workers in Illinois sued Walmart and two staffing firms.

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