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Wal-Mart Black Friday Walkouts: What's At Stake

CNN Money

FORTUNE -- Thousands of Wal-Mart employees won't be pushing away from the Thanksgiving meal today to visit with family, watch football, or even clean the dishes. Instead, they'll be heading to work to welcome bargain-hunting shoppers.

But Wal-Mart startled friends and foes by lodging a complaint on Nov. 15 with the National Labor Relations Board, seeking to bar demonstrations on grounds that federal labor law requires a formal vote to unionize after 30 days of such public protests.

Workers like Yaber say they are focused on bread-and-butter issues, not unionizing. She makes under $10 per hour and said she would like to have the minimum hourly wage raised to $12, and see more full-time work schedules as well as less expensive health care insurance.

That level of pay would raise 700,000 American workers out of poverty, according to a report issued this week from Demos, a New York-based research group. It also estimated that the increase would create an additional 100,000 jobs, at a cost to customers of $.15 per shopping trip.