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Walmart employees striking locally, nationally on Black Friday

DENVER — Some Walmart employees are protesting on this Black Friday both locally and nationally.

On the busiest shopping day of the year, this disappoint group is claiming working at the retail giant is a risk to their livelihoods, and are pushing for better pay, what they call fair schedules and more affordable health care.

“I’m out here,” Walmart employee Mary Tifft said. “I’m standing for all my fellow associates that are actually in there right now working. To put it simply, we are hoping to hurt Walmart’s bottom line. To show them this is what happens when they trample on the rights of American citizens.

“I hope our cooperation hears what we’re saying. They’re under the impression we’re just a small of disgruntled associates.”

It turns out Walmart was concerned about the protests. So concerned, in fact, that the company filed a complaint last week with the National Labor Relations Board attempting to stop Black Friday demonstrations.

Walmart claims the protests have been ongoing for months because disgruntled employees are hoping to unionize.

“The union may say they’re not engaged in an organizing effort here,” said Mark Patterson, speaking for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “But the truth is they would love to organize Walmart. They’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.”

In addition to maintaining that they are pushing for better pay, affordable health care and fair schedules, protesters accuse the nation’s biggest retailer of unlawful attempts to silence workers who speak out for an improved workplace.

“Pay is an issue for some of us — a lot of us,” Barbara Andridge said. “We’re tired of living in poverty.”

On a personal level, a representative for the striking workers also said Walmart is guilty of a certain amount of hypocrisy.

“You have a company that professes family values,” Mark Belkin, a spokesperson for  United Food and Commercial Workers, said. “And what do they do? On Thanksgiving, they force their workers to leave their Thanksgiving dinner so they could hold their black Friday sales at 8 p.m. on Thursday

The national group called Our Walmart are the individuals organizing demonstrations Friday. Protesters will be at 15 denver area stores..

Walmart officials say employees who don’t show up for work will face consequences.