AFTNJ members join Wal-Mart Black Friday protests

Rally at Wal-Mart in Piscataway on Black Friday.
Organization United for Respect, a group of Wal-Mart workers organizing for better working conditions and union recognition, called for nationwide protests the day after Thanksgiving. AFTNJ members supported the effort.

“The theme of the day was solidarity, solidarity and more solidarity,” said Dianne Daniele, member of Kean University Adjunct Faculty Federation and Occupy Bergen County. “There were labor leaders, roller skaters, grandmothers, white hair, green hair and a lot in between,” said the English Professor. “We managed everything we set out to do, including marching and chanting inside the store.”

The group is demanding that Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest employer, pay a minimum of $13 per hour, make full-time jobs available for Associates who want them and offer affordable health insurance, according to its web site http://forrespect.org.

The Secaucus protest drew some 300 people (See Protesters in Secaucus picket Walmart over holiday opening, labor practices), while AFTNJ members and community activists rallied at Piscataway (see video).

Police at both locations were respectful of the protests and cited First Amendment rights. “When the assistant store manager came out to tell us we had to move along, police defended our right to peaceful expression,” said Daniele. “I can’t wait for the next one.”