Wal-Mart Black Friday walkout: How bad will it be? (+video)
Several groups of disgruntled Wal-Mart employees are planning a walkout on Black Friday. They've tried such tactics before with limited effect, but they promise a huge effort Friday.
How much will it impact the nation’s biggest retailer on the nation's biggest shopping day?
Employee groups backed by labor union organizers say the disruptions will be significant, potentially leaving stores in the hands of replacement workers who don't know where items are or how to use the cash register.
Wal-Mart counters that the disaffected workers make up only a tiny fraction of its workforce, meaning any disruptions will be virtually unnoticeable.
The reality is hard to pin down. One October attempt to organize a walkout spread to 12 states, but involved only 100 workers – out of a nationwide workforce of 1.4 million employees. But organizers say the Black Friday events will be beyond anything they have attempted so far.
Workers in blue states like California might meet with more success than those in other areas.
For instance, Daniel Hindman, who has worked at the Paramount, Calif., Wal-Mart since 2008, says he will walk out Friday with 100 of the store’s roughly 130 associates, accompanied by at least five of the store’s 20 or so managers.
“Wal-Mart may try to bring in other workers at the last minute,” says Mr. Hindman. But those people will not know the stock “or even how to ring up items at a cash register,” he says.