Over 100 Walmart associates began a 15 day long fast on Friday in protest of the company’s low wages, and they have since gained over 1,000 supporters that are foregoing food for the cause.  

 

This hunger strike is in response to the many Walmart employees that have claimed that they have had to skip lunch just to make ends meet on their low wages. Walmart raised their wages to $9 an hour earlier this year and announced their plan to increase it to $10 in 2016. However, those protesting higher wages are demanding $15 an hour, so they can afford the rising cost of living.        

 

Protesters in favor of raising minimum wage

(WSJ)

This protest comes at a bad time for Walmart with the holiday season drawing near. In recent years, Walmart has faced negative PR for making their employees work on holidays. The only day of the year Walmart stays closed is on Christmas Day, but they keep their doors open on Thanksgiving with no signs of changing this policy.   

 

“We are a 24/7 hour operation,” said a Walmart spokeswoman. “We are open Thanksgiving Day and have been open Thanksgiving Day for 25 years.”

 

Black Friday has also brought in a lot of bad PR, as there has been a history of violent incidents that have occurred at many Walmart stores. There have been shootings and stabbings over Black Friday deals at Walmart, which puts the employees and customers at risk. This has led to many protests during the holiday season, so Walmart may be hit with a barrage of negative PR in the coming weeks.   

 

Walmart may not be willing to increase their wages to $15 an hour, but they will want to react before Thanksgiving arrives to avoid further problems. If they try and negotiate or at least show that they are willing to make some changes, it could help them recover from the hit their image has taken.    

 

Will Walmart give their employees a $15 an hour in response to the hunger strike? Could this cause employees from other companies to fast for higher wages? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.