While Foxconn, the controversial world's largest multinational electronics manufacturing company known for the harsh working conditions of its Chinese plants, is contemplating to open factories in the United States, another big multinational — Walmart — is facing a potentially crippling strike during of the busiest shopping seasons on the year here in America.
The reasons for the Black Friday strike are similar to the ones decried by Chinese workers albeit less harsh: the need for good jobs, regular hours, affordable health care and respect. Labor organizers claim Walmart is not listening to the workers' demands, and it's instead trying to silence them.
Organization United for Respect (OUR) Walmart and the nonprofits Engage Network and Corporate Action Network are planning this "creative" and "non-violent" Black Friday strike with the help of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
In addition, the "Making Change at Walmart" website is encouraging supporters to take the "Black Friday pledge" (which means to "sponsor a striker" by connecting through the appropriate social media and mobile channels and spreading the word).
The idea is to use the holiday season to "stand up for an end to the retaliation against workers who speak out for what's right for our families, our communities and our country." Workers hope to carry out the strike inside and outside Walmart stores the Friday after Thanksgiving. It is unclear if they'd try to intervene with online shopping.
It is also unclear whether customers will be supportive of the strike, especially if they find it disruptive of their shopping activities.
To that point, Walmart spokesperson Steven Restivo told HuffPo the strikes "will not have any impact on our business." He also denied the company is "trying to silence workers" and that "when our associates bring forward concerns, we listen."