Giving “Thanks” on a “Thankless” Day

On November 29th, in accordance with the Black Friday Day of Action, Long Island Jobs with Justice and our allies held two Worker Appreciation actions at the Valley Stream and Setauket Walmarts. This Black Friday, hundreds of actions took place all around the country telling Walmart that workers and families will not stand for the exploitation of our communities any longer. We gave “Thank You” cards to over 100 associates to demonstrate our appreciation for all of their hard work during this holiday season and to show them that their communities support them.

Before the action, one Setauket associate reached out to us about what she wished could be changed at her store:

“I want to see 90% full time, permanent positions, better wages, and better benefits. I applied for permanent, full time and I was hired as a part time, temporary employee. Now I spend every week begging for any spare hours they have just to try to make a decent check. […] Also, if you bring people in for the holidays, they deserve the same holiday discount and holiday pay as permanent employees.” She signed her letter “Hard Working Mom”.

This hard working mother’s wish mirrors the wishes of countless Walmart associates nationwide on a day where the stores are packed and the hours are long. This Black Friday also marks the 5 year anniversary of the death of Jdimytai Damour, a Valley Stream Walmart security guard who was trampled in 2008.  Walmart has yet to pay the $7,000 it was fined by OSHA for failing to protect its employees. In the past 5 years, this Valley Stream Walmart has doubled in size and has opened its doors on Black Friday at 6 pm on Thanksgiving, yet workers have yet to see any benefits for their hard work and sacrifices.

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