Business

Demonstrators join the shoppers at some Wal-Marts

Protestors urging better pay and benefits for Wal-Mart workers gathered Friday outside one of the company's stores in Secaucus, N.J.
Protestors urging better pay and benefits for Wal-Mart workers gathered Friday outside one of the company's stores in Secaucus, N.J. AP

Protests by the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union didn't appear to reduce Black Friday traffic at Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer.

The union had planned more than 1,000 demonstrations online and at Wal-Mart stores around the country to protest what it says are the retailer's manipulation of hours and benefits, efforts to keep people from working full-time, and discrimination against women and minorities.

Wal-Mart said Friday that it had larger crowds than last year and drew about 22 million customers Thursday. The retailer said that only 26 protests took place at stores Thursday night and that fewer than 50 associates participated.

One worker walked out of the Wal-Mart in Miami Gardens, Fla., according to Muhammad Malik, a community activist connected to the union. He organized what he estimated to be about 70 people, including what he said was about 30 Wal-Mart employees, outside that store from about 7:45 to 9:15 p.m. Thursday.

In Louisville, 60 people picketed outside a location. The Courier-Journal reported the Friday protest did not appear to include employees of the store. Picketers were made up of members from several unions and a group called Kentucky Jobs with Justice. The protest lasted about two hours.

In Dallas, protesters had been to two stores by 8 p.m. Thursday, Janna Pea, another union organizer, said in a telephone interview. Pea said the group protested at the first store for 10 minutes before security kicked them off the property.

"We weren't able to do much," she said. The group began protesting in front of the second store as shoppers began filing in. Security forced them to leave there, too. The group ended up standing on the side of the road near the entrance to the store's parking lot, she said.

Organizers have declined to say how many workers have been involved with the movement. Wal-Mart has about 1.4 million employees and more than 4,500 stores and clubs in the United States.

  Comments