Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) stores could see something other than low prices on Black Friday — they may see fewer employees.
The nation’s largest retailer is facing the prospect of protests and walkouts by workers who oppose higher health care premiums and low wages, Bloomberg notes.
Work actions began this week, supported by a workers’ organization called Making Change at Wal-Mart, which is backed by leading labor unions. Dozens of workers walked off the job at Wal-Mart locations in California and Washington.
The group is planning protests outside Wal-Mart stores in Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., in addition to other areas in the days leading up to Black Friday, the traditional kickoff of the holiday shopping season, a sensitive time for retailers.
Company officials complained that the protests were being organized by the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union and were aimed at gaining media attention.
Wal-Mart is the nation’s largest private employer with a U.S. workforce of 1.4 million. Unions have attempted to organize its workers in the past, but have not managed to organize multiple job actions until now. Last month, small protests spread across Wal-Mart operations in 12 states.
Shares of Wal-Mart fell about 1% in Friday midday trading.