Several Bay Area Walmart stores are likely to see union picketers on Black Friday as a show of solidarity with labor strikes around the country.
The protests involve a handful of people at a handful of stores, most of whom don't even work for Walmart, but are union organizers and union members, a company spokeswoman said.
The picketers are expected at Walmart's San Leandro, Richmond, Fairfield and San Jose stores on what is known as one of the busiest shopping days of the year, according to the group OUR Walmart.
The group's website also calls for picketing at Walmart and Sam's Club stores in Antioch, Concord and Pleasanton.
"It's a big statement to try and take their destiny into their own hands," said Mike Henneberry with the United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 5.
The labor union backs the OUR Walmart group. Walmart workers are not unionized.
Cashiers, stockers, department managers and other positions that make up the group of strikers are calling for improved working conditions and living wages for their families.
"They feel like they have been exploited for decades," Henneberry said. "What better day to try and make a statement. It makes sense."
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. officials dismissed the notion that the actions would have any bearing on its Black Friday plans or disrupt shopping at its 4,000 stores nationwide, according to company spokeswoman Kayla Whaling.
"Our stores will be operating
As for the strikers' message, Whaling said that Walmart's pay and benefits plans are as good or better than its retail competitors, including those that are unionized.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.