• Several hundred non-union Wal-Mart employees walked off the job on Thanksgiving and “Black Friday” and thousands of employees and representatives from various civil, immigrants’ and women’s rights groups protested outside selected stores in 46 states, according to United Food & Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). The employees are members of the nonprofit organization OUR Walmart, organized by the UFCW which is trying to organize and represent Wal-Mart employees. Wal-Mart responded by stating UFCW’s numbers are grossly overstated and that it experienced its best Black Friday in company history. The walk-outs and protests follow October strikes by Wal-Mart employees and employees of Wal-Mart contractors and distributors to protest alleged poor working conditions and wages. Change to Win affiliate Warehouse Workers United has helped workers at Wal-Mart distributors coordinate their efforts. OUR Walmart also filed unfair labor practices alleging that Wal-Mart was threatening employees to deter them from participating in strikes or other actions. Wal-Mart has filed its own charges against UFCW claiming that the union has engaged in recognitional picketing without having filed a petition for a representation election.
  • Members of the California Nurses Association (CNA) participated in one to two-day strikes against 10 hospitals affiliated with Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and Sutter Health in Northern California in protest of the companies’ bargaining proposals. The CNA said the strikes over proposed cuts to their health coverage, paid sick leave and education leave, as well as workplace conditions affecting patient care. HCA and Sutter responded by hiring temporary workers on five-day contracts. CNA’s contract expired in June 2012 and was extended until October 31, 2012. CNA members had previously participated in six, one-day strikes. The two sides have participated in nearly 30 bargaining session since May 2011, including several sessions with a federal mediator.
  • Approximately 223 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 members, consisting of janitors, security, and maintenance personnel, struck the Port of Oakland and Oakland Airport for 24 hours in protest of alleged unfair labor practices involving management’s failure to provide requested information and unilaterally changing contract terms. Local 1021’s previous collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expired in June 2011, and impasse was declared in May 2012 after a tentative agreement was rejected in the spring. The picket line was honored by several area local unions.
  • Members of the office clerical unit of Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 struck the Port of Los Angeles to protest management’s failure to include job security language during contract negotiations. Hundreds of fellow longshore workers are honoring the picket lines. Local 63 members have been working without a contract since June 2010. Management claims that the union’s fear of outsourcing is unfounded and that the terms it has offered are fair and generous. On December 5 it was announced that the parties had reached a tentative agreement, and the strike was immediately suspended. Details are not yet available.
  • Several European countries were plagued with synchronized “anti-austerity” strikes. In Spain, strikers disrupted the country’s heavy industry and transportation network—approximately 700 flights in and out of the country were cancelled—in response to the Prime Minister’s austerity budget. Sporadic violence among the picket lines resulted in 32 arrests and 15 injuries. In Italy, civil servants went on strike and national transportation workers, not including airline employees, called for a four-hour work stoppage, while students engaged in demonstrations throughout the country. Greek unions also called for a three-hour work stoppage. In a show of solidarity with Southern European unions, Belgian rail workers engaged in a walkout and French unions planned more than 130 demonstrations.