The usual left-wing groups were represented– Jobs with Justice, Occupy Tucson, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), and college students. Who was absent? Wal-Mart workers and representatives of the United Food and Commercial Workers–the union that played an integral role in organizing the national day of protest.
Although Wal-Mart is infamous for paying low wages, intimidating workers who want to unionize, discriminating against women in promotion practices, and avoiding offering health care insurance by manipulating employees' hours, the tipping point for yesterday's protest was requiring workers to start Black Friday work schedules on Thanksgiving at 8 p.m.
Video of the Tucson protest and other details after the jump.
The Tucson demonstration is reportedly one of approximately 1000 protests at Wal-Mart stores nationwide. Although in multiple news stories today, Wal-Mart claims that the protests didn't phase shoppers or hurt sales, the parking lot at the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Tucson's south side was about half full at 10 a.m. on Black Friday morning– prime shopping time. As activist lined the parameter along Valencia and Midvale Park Rd., a trickle of cars and trucks peacefully drove in and out of the lot. Many shoppers stopped to take the Jobs With Justice fliers, and passing cars honked their support.
Not surprisingly, no current local politicians or representatives of the main stream media stopped by the rally, but two former politicians walked the picket lines– former City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Molly McKasson and former Arizona Legislator John Kromko (pictured above). Check out the video below for interviews with Kromko, McKasson, and other protesters.