Walmart protesters make themselves heard on Black Friday
Posted November 29, 2013
Updated November 30, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.
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.”