Part of why the recent actions are so remarkable is that Wal-Mart is one of the most notoriously anti-union companies in the country. Based in right-to-work Arkansas, the retailer has maintained an almost entirely union-free workforce for most of its existence, even once resorting to shutting down a store in Quebec shortly after a successful union drive there. The company has never before dealt with coordinated labor protest on this scale. “In the past, Wal-Mart would fire people, would threaten people … and that would be enough to stop people in their tracks,” said Dan Schlademan, director of Making Change at Walmart, another organization backed by the UFCW which works closely with [the Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart]. “The difference now is workers are using Wal-Mart’s own tactics to challenge the company and not backing down. Really, for the first time in Wal-Mart’s history, the tools that are used to keep people silent and under control are now being used against them. That’s significant.”
Meanwhile, this PDF, which is an internal document that details how Walmart managers should respond to the protests, is making the rounds:
But none of this is getting in the way of sweet, sweet commerce: Walmart is announcing that this is their biggest Black Friday ever, with 5,000 items sold every second.