On Thursday evening, the Black Friday skirmishes began between Walmart and some of its employees.Workers staged walkouts in stores in Dallas, Miami, and Kenosha, Wis., according to OUR Walmart, an employee group that’s been agitating for better wages, benefits, and work schedules for more than a year. Workers also went on strike San Leandro, Calif., Clovis, N.M., Ocean City, Md., Orlando and St. Cloud, Fla., and Baton Rouge, La., The Nation reported early this morning. OUR Walmart’s website lists nine cities where Walmart rallies will take place. The first one took place Thursday evening in Miami. But the rest of the events get under way early this morning in at least nine states. Given its nearly 4,000 stores, these job actions are unlikely to stop – or even slow – Walmart’s Black Friday push. The strikers appear to be aiming for visibility rather than confrontation.
A federal court in Pittsburgh has ruled that the government can track you to your location, sans search warrant, using free anti-moocher software, The Wall Street Journal reports. The courts have ruled that Internet subscribers have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their IP address, the number assigned to devices that connect to the Internet. Nor can they expect privacy protection for the information they give their Internet service providers. But the Pittsburgh ruling, made earlier this month, is the first to address the privacy rights of people who piggyback on their neighbors’ unsecured wireless networks. The case also raises questions about the Fourth Amendment rights — against unreasonable search and seizure — of honest folk who connect to the Internet via free public wireless access points.
A Facebook experiment in democracy is fading. On Wednesday the social network announced several updates to its governing policy that may ultimately limit the community’s ability to overturn future policy decisions. In a blog post authored by Elliot Schrage, its head of communications, Facebook said it will remove a voting system that gives its users the opportunity to strike down a policy change if a change prompts more than 7,000 comments and if more than 30% of people on Facebook participate in a vote. In part, Facebook says it’s revising its rules because the social network has grown so large. In October, the company hit a key milestone: one billion monthly active users. As it grows, the 7,000 comment threshold has become easier to surpass.
After several years of costly concessions, the Bakery, Confectionery,Tobacco and Grain Millers Union authorized a walk-out earlier this month after Hostess received bankruptcy court approval to implement a wage cut that was not included in its contract. Reuters reports interviews with more than a dozen workers showed there was little sign of regret from employees who voted for the strike. They said they would rather lose their jobs than put up with lower wages and poorer benefits. With 18,500 workers, Hostess has 12 different unions including the BCTGM, which has about 5,600 members on the bread and snack item production lines, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents about 7,500 route sales representatives, drivers and other employees.
American Airlines will begin recalling furloughed pilots in early 2013, the carrier told pilots Wednesday, The Dallas Morning News reports. “Right now, we are looking at about 40 pilots a month with the first class on Jan. 9, 2013,” said John Hale, the airline’s vice president of flight, in a hotline to members. “Announcing the recall now allows pilots on a deferred status to give the notice necessary if they would like to return to AA in January.”American currently has about 650 pilots on furlough on haven’t previously been offered a recall. American’s pilots begin voting Friday on a proposed six-year contract.