Tucson Black Friday Wal-Mart protest draws 50 activists, no strikers (video)


J-m-p-s-157-sm72by Pamela Powers Hannley

Approximately 50 Tucson activists protested Wal-Mart's labor practices at a southside store on Black Friday.

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.



  1. Walmart is no different from any other employer that it expects its workers to appear when they have been scheduled. As far as “there are alternatives” I didn’t see any coverage of employers offering to hire dissatisfied Walmart workers. There are plenty of workers some of which work for Walmart, some of which don’t, who really need their jobs. Where is your empathy for them? Why should anybody expect Walmart workers to bash or otherwise harm their employer?

  2. To answer your first question, yes.

    I oppose subsidies for any corporation (or any other person, business or group). I do not support special government deals that favor special groups.

  3. So, you are one of those “let the velvet hand of the market find the right price” for labor costs (as well as everything else)?

    If you are against the minimum wage, are you also against subsidies for major corporations? I find that capitalists are against government meddling in business when it helps workers (ie, unemployment, minimum wage, safe working conditions) but not when it increases profits or reduces THEIR risks.

  4. People stick with these jobs due to a lack of other alternative better paying jobs. Yes, it would be a better world if all working people were able to enjoy holidays at home, with provisions for truly emergency personnel trading time off. I’m glad you understand that Walmart is “ethically questionable” to put it mildly. Walmart uses the state of the economy and fear tactics to keep people from protesting or walking off the job. This movement is to let workers know they are not alone and that there are alternatives. Your lack of empathy for your fellow human beings is very sad.

  5. Government cannot mandate a given level of wages any better than it can mandate a given level of prices (without severe unintended consequences). Society is better off if government sticks to prohibiting the few acts where offenses are clear (murder, assault, robbery and fraud) than allow it to impose a utopia via various government mandates. Obamacare (or if you prefer the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) imposes new mandates every year and each mandate makes it more likely that a given job will be performed outside the USA. I for one think that is a bad consequence.


  6. But even if everything you said is correct, shouldn’t every position in America, even a lowly entry level position, pay a living wage? You’re not suggesting you’d expect less from the “greatest country in the world,” are you?

  7. Look. I’m sure WalMart takes full advantage of every legal way of exploiting it’s workers to the fullest. I bet they even enter the grey areas from time to time and maybe even break the law on occasion. They certainly have earned a place on the ethically questionable employer’s list but walking that fine line may be part of why they are successful while so many other companies fail.

    As for the workers, it’s still a free country (marginally) and they can leave any time they feel oppressed. Another article bemoaned the fact that after working in an associate position for years this particular employee was at the top of Walmart’s pay scale for the position at something like $14/hour. Poor baby! She can’t make anymore money at that job no matter how much longer she stays! People! That’s why they call it an “entry level” position! You’re not supposed to make being a Walmart greeter a career!

    About the poor folks having to work on Thanksgiving: Whooopeee! Hundreds of thousands of people have to work on holidays. Do police/hospital/fire/emergency service workers all get it off? How about all the people working in hotels/restaurant/food service/hospitality? Give me a break. If these sorry sods are so broke I’d think they’d be happy for more hours.

  8. No, I was not surprised at all that no Wal-Mart employees were obviously participating. Wal-mart frowns upon any activities that hint of unionism. There were two people who wanted to be interviewed but not show their faces.

  9. You were expecting different results? No one that works at Wal Mart in the area can afford to protest. It is still difficult to get a job in Tucson. We are an area filled with low wage non sustainable service jobs. I wish the organizations like TREO would get real companies in here but they keep bringing in call centers that fire half of their workers every 6 months. TREO is a bunch of local fat cats that keep getting wealthier on the backs of Tucson labor. They do not give back. They pay low wages and pay themselves more money. They are all disgusting and deserve any bad karma they get.