Local News

Walmart protesters make themselves heard on Black Friday

Posted November 29, 2013
Updated November 30, 2013

— While hundreds of holiday shoppers jammed into the New Bern Avenue Walmart in Raleigh on Black Friday, a few dozen stood outside to protest the retail giant’s labor practices and call on the company to provide more full-time work at $25,000 a year.

“Walmart is the symbol of rising economic inequality in America,” the North Carolina State AFL-CIO said in a statement. “The large corporation made $17 billion in profits this year, but pays its employees poverty wages: 825,000 of their employees make less than $25,000 a year, trapping them and their families in a state of economic insecurity. A job shouldn't trap workers in poverty. It should lift them out of it."

The protest at the Raleigh store, which drew about 50 people, was among hundreds of others mobilized across the country on the blockbuster shopping day.

Although similar protests were held on Black Friday last year, advocates were reinvigorated following recent headlines about two Walmart stores in Ohio that held canned food drives for its employees.

"I am speaking out about Walmart's labor practices not only because I found them to be morally reprehensible during the two and a half years I worked there, but also because I fervently believe that the continuation and expansion of Wal-Mart's current business model…constitutes a clear and present danger to the health of the overall American economy,” Patrick Snipes, who used to work at a Walmart in Durham, said in a statement. Walmart Protesters: Nov. 29, 2013 Walmart protesters rally on Black Friday

In a statement on its corporate website, Walmart said its full- and part-time associates make an average of nearly $12 a hour, and the company provides health care, education benefits and access to a 401K.

“Black Friday is a big stage, and we’re one of the biggest players in the retail industry,” the company said. “We’re not surprised that those trying to change our industry are using this platform to get their message out, and we respect their right to be heard. We expect some demonstrations at our stores today, although far fewer than what our critics are claiming and with hardly any actual Walmart associates participating.”

22 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • glarg Dec 3, 3:23 p.m.

    A dozen paid protestors show up to gripe. While thousands are inside voting with their pocketbooks.

    These union t4ugs are getting desperate as their numbers continue to dwindle.

  • teddyspaghetti Dec 3, 9:53 a.m.

    "we could be those shareholders."

    I'm not,....
    Liebe ist fur alle

    if you own a mutual fund - you might!! Wouldn't THAT be a hoot!

  • btneast Dec 3, 8:19 a.m.

    I do know know why many people feel that retail and other service related employees are not entitled better pay. Retail is not an easy job, especially this time of year.

    Pay scale has little to do with how hard a particular job is. It has more to do with supply and demand, along with skill . The higher the skill level required, the fewer people there are usually. The labor pool to handle a retail job is very large, as is the pool for fast food.

  • Justic4All Dec 2, 7:56 p.m.

    I didn't hear anything!

  • Liebe ist fur alle Dec 2, 6:07 p.m.

    "we could be those shareholders."

    I'm not, but if I were I'd accept a little less profit for a better working environment. Surprisingly happier employees make you more money in the long run.

  • flyguync Dec 2, 5:45 p.m.

    These people do realize they don't have to work at Walmart I hope. I also hope people realize Walmart's policies are driven by shareholders that demand profit - we could be those shareholders.

  • Liebe ist fur alle Dec 2, 5:24 p.m.

    "Walmart has been proven time and time again NOT to be the cheapest place to grocery shop"

    particularly given the societal cost associated with their business model and practices.

  • Black HelicoptersNFood Insurance Dec 2, 5:00 p.m.

    Have you noticed that the unions are picking on Walmart, the only place the poor can afford to shop. "Cut off your nose to spite your face."-danny22

    Walmart has been proven time and time again NOT to be the cheapest place to grocery shop but Target...blows you mind right???

  • Minarchist Dec 2, 4:51 p.m.

    Walmart is only a trap as an employer if you let them be. Ive never heard of Walmart forcing anyone to work or shop there. When I walk into Walmart I wonder how most of them can keep a job just by appearance.

  • itsyoureternalsoul Dec 2, 3:08 p.m.

    I am certain there was lots of success for the protesters.

More...