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Walmart Black Friday under threat of striking employees, company calls threats 'exaggerated'

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Two organizations affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union are organizing strikes at Walmart stores around the U.S. in the run up to Black Friday to protest what they believe to be Walmart's "attempts to silence workers who speak out for better jobs," according to a press release from Making Change at Walmart.

The strikes are being planned by Making Change at Walmart and OUR Walmart, both of which are affiliated with the UFCW.

Making Change at Walmart announced in a press release yesterday that the proposed strikes and protests would spread across the country, but declined to announced specific dates in fear that "Walmart would use it as an opportunity to try to silence the workers’ voices."

Also involved is the Organization United for Respect (OUR) Walmart, which, according to the New York Times, has been funded in part by the UFCW. According to its website, OUR Walmart has called on Walmart to "listen" to its associates, "pay a minimum of $13/hour and make full time jobs available for Associates who want them" and "provide affordable healthcare," among other things.

Earlier today, Walmart filed an unfair labor practice charge against the UFCW, Reuters reports.

"We are taking this action now because we cannot allow the UFCW to continue to intentionally seek to create an environment that could directly and adversely impact our customers and associates," Walmart spokesman David Tovar said. "If they do, they will be held accountable."

In an email sent to The Verge, Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg characterized the proposed strikes as an "exaggerated publicity campaign" and said that the company would "have more than one million associates working through the holiday weekend."

You can read more about Walmart's Black Friday video game deals here.