Protests greet shoppers at Walmart
PHILADELPHIA - November 23, 2012 (WPVI) -- Walmart workers and supporters are protesting at a number of stores nationwide, blasting the wages, benefits and treatment of employees of the world's largest retailer.
The efforts on Thursday and Friday seemed to do little to keep shoppers away though - the company said it was their best Black Friday ever.
A union-backed group called OUR Walmart says it held an estimated 1000 protests in 46 states. The exact number is unclear.
In Philadelphia, the protesters were out in force demanding justice for Walmart workers, but, Action New couldn't find any Walmart workers in the crowd.
The protesters say they were there in support, because Walmart employees face retaliation for speaking up.
"We're out here in support of these workers. Hopefully we can help them get what they need to actually earn a decent living, a decent wage from this employer," said Ralph Branch.
The protests and walkouts were scheduled to culminate during the key holiday shopping weekend to draw attention to working conditions and wages.
"I have a lot of friends who are Walmart workers and who have been Walmart workers in the past, and they make them work really terrible hours for very low wages," said Katey Aquilina.
Despite the protest, Walmart claims it is having its best Black Friday ever, and shoppers didn't seem to be phased much by the picketing outside.
"If they are not getting treated right, it is the right thing to do," said Omar Brown. "But I don't mind shopping. I love Walmart."
Walmart has issued a statement refuting the claims of the protesters.
The world's largest retailer says it has a lower employee turnover rate than average and that it gives its workers fair opportunities to advance.
The company says, "The fact is, our pay and benefits plans are as good as or better than our retail competitors, including those that are unionized."
Walmart also says that very few of its workers walked off the job to join Friday's protests.
walmart, black friday, philadelphia, local/state
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