This year, Black Friday “” or I guess it would be more accurate to call it Black Friday Eve “” begins on Thanksgiving evening, 8:00 PM at Walmart (and Sears, 9:00 PM at Target). Prepare, cook, eat and clean-up quickly, Walmart, Sears, Target and other retails employees. The focus below is on Walmart simply because of its size, and the actions by some of its U.S. “associates.”

From Story of Stuff. There’s a “Buy Nothing, Do Something” pledge “” “Choose Family Over Frenzy” “” to sign if you’re so inclined. This video illustrates the “frenzy”:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year”¦unless you work at Walmart. When Walmart workers have spoken out for better wages and benefits and a voice at work, Walmart has tried to silence and intimidate them.

But … Walmart associates are fighting back, launching a nationwide series of work actions and strikes at Walmart stores on Black Friday. Show them your support by buying them and their families ““ who are losing pay and risking their jobs ““ a gift card for food.

At Making Change at Walmart, employee Mary Pat Tifft:

This Thanksgiving, while millions of families plan to spend quality time with their loved ones, many Walmart workers have been told we will be stocking shelves and preparing for doors to open at 8pm on Thanksgiving night. …

This early opening is one more example of Walmart’s disconnect with the workers who keep its stores running and disregard for all of our families.

From Walmart employees, about working for the world’s largest retailer, “Why are we standing up to live better?”:

More from Corporate Reaction Network:

Stand with Walmart Strikers on Black Friday

Across the country, Walmart employs 1.4 million people. … We have been speaking out for good jobs with decent pay, regular hours, affordable healthcare and respect, but instead of working with us to make changes, Walmart has attempted to silence and retaliate against us for speaking out. Our jobs have been threatened, our hours cut, our schedules changed. Some of us have even been fired. We will not be silenced. Throughout the holiday season, including Black Friday, we will be standing up for an end to the retaliation against workers who speak out for what’s right for our families, our communities and our country, and we hope that you will stand with us. …

Strikes are a part of the actions taken by some Walmart employees. From Making Change at Walmart:

Walmart Workers from Stores & Warehouses Begin to Strike

… With so many Americans struggling to make ends meet and Walmart taking in $16 billion in profits and compensating its executives $10 million each, workers and community leaders have been calling on Walmart and Chairman Rob Walton to address the wage gap the company is creating. At the same time frontline Walmart workers are facing financial hardships, the Walton Family “” heirs to the Walmart fortune “” are the richest family in the country with more wealth than the bottom 42% of American families combined.

Among those supporting the strikers:

… Color of Change, National Alliance of Latino, African and Caribbean Communities, Interfaith Worker Justice, and the National Organization of Women, are organizing their members in support of Walmart workers. Online, individuals have been adding support and planning protests on their own, starting new Facebook pages, groups and events. Through the Corporate Action Network, activists are “˜adopting’ stores where they can inform shoppers about the struggles that Walmart workers are facing.

The backing included this: Community Members Arrested in Support of Striking Warehouse Workers.

A recent response from the Walton family includes a “read the fine print” section. Via Making Change:

As Walmart executives publicized an employee healthcare change that showcased no-cost spine and heart surgeries at select hospitals, managers delivered a different message to retail associates at their stores: your healthcare costs are going up, again. Premiums are set to increase by up to 36% next year, employees were told, adding to steep hikes they faced last year. In comparison, projections for large employer-sponsored health plans are expected to increase by only 5.5 percent, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

As I thought about all of this earlier today, I heard an NPR report regarding the recent increased use of credit cards, including by those with less than great credit ratings once again being issued such cards. Perhaps, it was speculated, this is a good thing, an indication of a growing consumer confidence. Maybe. Or perhaps it’s the beginning of yet another round of financial institutions seizing the moment, in this case most immediately the “most wonderful time of the year,” to add to their gigantic profits. No doubt the Waltons approve.

(Black Friday poster via Some Ecards)