Black Friday Protests for Living Wages Coming Soon to a Wal-mart Near You

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By Glynn Wilson

The goofy stories on local TeeVee news have already started airing on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that has become one of the biggest days of retail sales in the United States. Christmas is all about capitalism for the mainstream media in America, just like everything else. They also report on democracy as if it was the same thing as capitalism, even though they are not one and the same thing.

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Wal-mart strikers at Pico Rivera Wal-mart standing up to put an end to retaliation

But it is not so much about capitolism for American workers stuck in low wage jobs due to corporate and government policies that favor the owners of capital over the workers who create it.

Even the workers at Wal-mart, the world’s largest retailer and employer, have grown tired of being exploited. So they are standing up and not taking it anymore.

Wal-mart workers and other working families are going to rally at the retail giant’s locations around the country on Black Friday this year, asking Wal-mart management to pay its workers a living wage and allow them to come together and speak out for change without fear of retaliation.

Despite making profits of $17 billion this year, Wal-mart pays its workers such low wages — the majority of the company’s employees in the United States make less than $25,000 a year — that taxpayers effectively provide massive subsidies to the company through food stamps and other programs. Additionally, the company is the biggest beneficiary of food stamp payments, taking in some 18 percent of the program’s outlays each year, or about $14 billion.

But the company does little to pay back the taxpayers for that largesse or pass its huge profits on to its workers, who do all of the work that brings in the rest of Wal-mart’s revenue.

As Vermont’s Independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders recently noted, the heirs to the Wal-mart fortune, the Walton family, are worth more than $100 billion, more than the bottom 40 percent of America’s workers combined. The family uses a legal maze of loopholes to maintain their fortune and exploits minimum wage and other laws to make it possible to exploit its workers.

“We have to create millions of new jobs” to help the economy, Sanders said, “but we also have to make the minimum wage a living wage.”

Wal-mart’s working families aren’t taking the company’s greedy tactics lightly anymore, and the number of rallies is increasing each year. Making Change at Wal-mart and its allies are asking the retailer to make a relatively small increase in payroll costs, paying a minimum full-time annual salary of $25,000. That would not only help Walmart workers be able to provide for their families, but it would boost the economy and, in the long run, Wal-mart’s profits.

A recent study found if this policy was implemented by Wal-mart and other large retailers, it would lift 1.5 million retail workers and their families out of poverty, add more than 100,000 new jobs to the economy and increase retail sales by putting more spending money into the hands of workers.

To learn more about the campaign and search for the Black Friday event in your area, check out this Web page for a coalition of workers operating under the name “Making Change at Walmart,” a pro-labor group that is helping workers organize the Black Friday events and asking President Barack Obama to meet with the workers to hear more about the importance of these issues.

© 2013 – 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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