Black Friday Backlash
26th Nov 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 0
Black Friday Backlash

By Kyle Fiehler

In the run up to the mother of all shopping days, Black Friday has been a promoted trend on Twitter, garnering hundreds of mentions and hash tags per minute. But, there have noticeably been two sides to the conversation.

Wal-Mart announced it is opening its doors at 8 pm on Thanksgiving evening, prompting a wave of furry from employees of the nation’s largest retailer. They join Sears, Toys “R” Us, and many Target stores in opening their doors on Turkey Day.

In response, scattered amongst the predictable tweets boasting astonishing savings and unheard of markdowns, are articles like this one from the Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch.com with the subhead “We Ruined Thanksgiving.” Wal-Mart’s planned labor demonstration is almost as widely discussed as deals for half-off 50’’ flat-screens.

According to Launch PDF file.

by the Families and Work Institute, these types of retailers tend to employ workers from either end of the generational spectrum. Of their employees, 39 percent are under 28 (Generation Y), and seven percent are over 62 years old. Both of these numbers are higher than the averages in other industries. This means high numbers of Millennials and elderly are expected to pry themselves from their families, sometimes as early as 3 p.m., in order to ready stores for crowds eagerly awaiting the 8 p.m. doorbuster deals. A Wal-Mart spokesperson has even publicly announced “consequences” for those workers scheduled to work Thanksgiving evening who fail to show up.

On the one hand, Millennials have the 10.8 percent unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This percentage would surely be worse if it weren’t for the various sales jobs made available by mega retailers, such as the ones opening their doors early on Thursday.

Yet Generation Y is entering the workforce in a time of near constant labor disputes by educators, dockworkers, confectioneries, even professional athletes and referees over wages and benefits. Wal-Mart employees have so far demanded higher wages and more affordable access to healthcare. Managers have called their actions unprofessional and even illegal, but are they just taking cues from those around them?

What do you think? Do Wal-Mart’s employees have the right to disturb business on one of the single most lucrative day of the company’s fiscal year, or is 2012 the year of abusing organized labor demonstrations?


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