Part of why the recent actions are so remarkable is that Wal-Mart is one of the most notoriously anti-union companies in the country. Based in right-to-work Arkansas, the retailer has maintained an almost entirely union-free workforce for most of its existence, even once resorting to shutting down a store in Quebec shortly after a successful union drive there. The company has never before dealt with coordinated labor protest on this scale. “In the past, Wal-Mart would fire people, would threaten people … and that would be enough to stop people in their tracks,” said Dan Schlademan, director of Making Change at Walmart, another organization backed by the UFCW which works closely with [the Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart]. “The difference now is workers are using Wal-Mart’s own tactics to challenge the company and not backing down. Really, for the first time in Wal-Mart’s history, the tools that are used to keep people silent and under control are now being used against them. That’s significant.”
ThinkProgress has some video of an anti-Walmart protest from Fox News if you're interested. Meanwhile, this PDF, which is an internal document that details how Walmart managers should respond to the protests, is making the rounds:
But none of this is getting in the way of sweet, sweet commerce: Walmart is announcing that this is their biggest Black Friday ever, with 5,000 items sold every second.