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Walmart gearing up for holiday sales and protests

Thanksgiving may still be two weeks away, but that hasn’t stopped both retailers and consumers alike from already making plans for the long holiday weekend. Indeed, several retailers have already announced that stores will not only be open on the traditional Black Friday shopping holiday, but on Thanksgiving as well.

At least one of the mega retailers to make this announcement was Walmart, which has indicated that its stores across the nation will be open for shopping during the evening hours of November 27 and the early morning hours of November 28.

It is worth noting that a significant amount of the dialogue concerning Walmart’s extended holiday shopping isn’t directed toward the savings or offerings, but rather toward the important topic of employee rights.

Specifically, critics have long accused the Arkansas-based retailer of paying employees too little and subjecting them to substandard working conditions, especially during this time of the year.

For its part, Walmart has indicated that it will be paying its employees a more than fair wage over the Thanksgiving week. Specifically, those employees who work during this week will be paid a so-called holiday rate, meaning they receive their regular hourly wage in addition to a sum commensurate with their average daily wage during the 12 weeks leading up to the holiday.

The company also indicated that its policy dictates that Thanksgiving work schedules are filled with volunteers first and then supplemented with as many workers as needed to fill empty slots.

All of this is unlikely to deter the more vocal opponents of Walmart, however, particularly the OUR Walmart group, which submitted a petition signed by nearly 1,700 company workers to the company’s founders calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour, full-time jobs and fixed work schedules. In fact, the petition indicated that the group would be organizing mass protests outside stores across the nation over the Thanksgiving holiday if the company failed to respond.

In all likelihood this means that those heading out to area Walmart stores over Thanksgiving may encounter protestors. However, the extent of these protests remains to be seen.

Stay tuned for developments …

If you have questions about your employee rights or would like to learn more about your options concerning an employment law-related matter, consider speaking with an experienced and dedicated legal professional as soon as possible.

Sources: The Huffington Post, “Walmart to kick off Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving,” Jillian Berman, Nov. 12, 2014; 24/7 Wall St.. “Walmart workers now seek $15 an hour, full-time work,” Paul Ausick, Oct. 16, 2014

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