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Wal-Mart Dismisses Labor Protests at Its Stores

New York Times (11/24/12) Steven Greenhouse

Wal-Mart faced a series of protests on Black Friday, but said they were largely a made-for-TV event and hardly affected the company on what it said was its best Black Friday. The group OUR Walmart—which works closely with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union—claimed there were protests at 1,000 stores in 46 states. “The number of protests being reported by the UFCW are grossly exaggerated,” said David Tovar, a Wal-Mart spokesman. ”We are aware of a few dozen protests at our stores today.”

OUR Walmart said the protests were aimed at fighting retaliation and not at gaining union recognition. Tovar said the company did not retaliate and was always ready to hear employees’ concerns. He added, ”The large majority of protesters aren’t even Wal-Mart workers.” He said the number of employees who missed their scheduled shifts on Friday was 60% lower than Black Friday last year.