Some Walmart employees protesting at Denver stores on Black Friday

DENVER — Not everyone out at the stores this Black Friday has their minds set on shopping. Walmart employees and supporters plan to protest here in Denver and across the country.

In September, similar protests were held in at least 15 cities, including Denver.

The demand is the same this time: for more full time work with wages of $25,000 per year or $12 an hour. One other complaint against Walmart: Some say there has been retaliation against workers who speak out for better jobs.

Walmart workers also held a walk out last Black Friday. Before the protests last year, Walmart filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board attempting to stop the demonstrations.

Walmart claimed the protests had 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.”

It wasn’t apparent if Walmart had taken similar steps to try and limit protests this year, but according to MSNBC,

19 comments

  • john cook

    Walmart is a bad neighbor. The pay is substandard, legal, but substandard. Hours have been cut so they don’t have to provide health benefits, which they have, but don’t pay to part timers. They retaliate against anyone who complains and they coerce employees into giving glowing testimonials as to how great the company is to its employees.

    I do not shop at Walmart for those reasons and more.

    I have never believed in unions, but if ever a company deserved to be unionized, walmart, its ilk and all fast food joints are the ones.

  • Gilbert Phillis

    A family memeber of mine has worked at the “evil” WALMART for almost 20 years. No complaining, does the job and a little more and has had steady pay increases all along by simply applying work ethics.

    Employees know what they are getting into immediately. I have a hard time with the “get hired then cry” method of getting raises and opportunities. Really? If you did not like the pay structure, if you did not want to work holidays then why the heck did you take them job? If you took it because you had to for any reason, why are you crying boo hoo?

    My company does everything legally, I wish I got more pay, but I guess I haven’t seen any crowds protesting my employers ethics yet…maybe when you are all tired of bashing the giant, who operates with in the law, you can move on to someone elses company who also operates within the law and “help” them out.

  • Gerry

    These “strikers” are fakes. Paid by the unions. The entire premise of the unions’ argument is ridiculous. Entry level wages may be “low” in some people’s interpretation but the are just that: entry-level. The employee is expected to make more as they become more valuable. That’s how the employer rewards a good employee. If the manager has to continually check up on the worker to make sure he’s doing his job, then of course that person won’t get a raise. That’s pretty basic, yet the unions would have you believe that the rules of business and employment are somehow ignored by Walmart and others simply because they’re non-union. I shop at Walmart because their prices are lower. If their employees are truly unhappy about their wages, that’s just not my problem, it’s theirs. Let them go work someplace else if they think they’ll get a better deal elsewhere. Except, you don’t see a shortage of applicants for Walmart, do you?

  • Keith W Peterson

    Don’t be so sure they are all actual Walmart employees.
    You know last year unions were paying some folks who did not work at the stores they were “striking” at, to strike for a few hours.

    The same tactic was used earlier this year when some fast food workers went on “strike” over their pay rate.

  • Harold Seaward

    John Cook- you’re either someone who got fired from Walmart, (which takes an act of God), or someone who knows nothing about the company. Even though you choose NOT to shop there, you’re still enjoying and benefiting from their existence, as they force other stores to lower their prices to remain competitive.

  • Rhonda

    I worked there a few years ago. I think it’s management they get in there that is crappy. I wouldn’t work for them again after a customer assaulted me and they did nothing but act like it was all my fault. If it was not for my husband and one of the security guys taking action in my defense, the guy would have never been caught. But I know not every store is the same. My aunt has worked at hers for many years and they treat her like family.

  • Lisa

    I just wanted to say that although, yes, Walmart does offer raises.. You only get them once a year and only 40 cents. You wait a whole year for better pay, for 40cents… most Walmart employees are on foodstamps.. Most of them get tons of help from the government… Fact.. And if Walmart paid their employees competitive wages.. Millions of dollars,in taxes would not be spent on them, Walmart can afford it. I also have to say that their treatment of employees are terrible, you say its hard to get fired from Walmart.. But the truth is.. You are given only soo many sick days.. If you have a doctors note that says you can’t work in mdue to illness for a few days, it does count against you, just like if you were to call in sick.. I got into a car accident and required bed rest for 2 weeks.. (too short of time to take terminal leave).. I wound up with 3 marks (your only allowed to have 3 in a 6 mo time).. So now if you get sick, you can loose your job. In my time there, there was also people sleeping with management to get ahead.

  • Gerry

    So, Lisa… work somewhere else!
    For heaven’s sake, an employer doesn’t “owe” you anything beyond what they – and you – agreed upon when you took the job. If they don’t provide you with the salary and benefits they promised you when you took the job, then you have a complaint. Otherwise, there’s nothing you’re “entitled to” by virtue of working there.
    This trend toward treating a job as a lifelong right has got to go!

  • fast45

    No sane knowledgeable person picks a clerk’s job at Walmart to finance a home or safeguard their family. There’s a sense of entitlement though that is eroding the collective American mindset. Don’t tell someone at your pre-job interview that you really want to work there, and then turn around and bite the hand that hired you. Find a better paying job … or, if you cannot, be thankful there is a Walmart for your entry-level skills.

  • mark

    9 out of 10 of my shopping trips are to Wal-Mart. They will always be a welcomed part of habits. If you don’t like the conditions then don’t work there. These conditions are common at the retail level, in no way is Walmart the culprit of these practices. I have witnessed many workers who simply are not productive enough to justify any higher wage than what they receive. Maybe once they can muster the effort to converse with the customer, smile, and actually hand me my bags I will be more emphatic to their demands of a higher wage.

  • Walmart_Insider

    John Cook, you’re wrong in saying that Walmart doesn’t offer health benefits to part-timers. I’ve worked there part-time for years, and I have good health insurance through the company. I believe they offer it to employees averaging at least 24 hours per week, which includes almost everybody. Also, I’ve complained about various things on various occasions and never been “retaliated against,” as you put it, and the idea that Walmart would try to coerce me into giving the company a glowing recommendation is just plain laughable. If you think fast food employees should be unionized, then you’re probably more of a union sympathizer than you’re willing to admit.

    Harold Seaward, getting fired from Walmart doesn’t exactly take an act of God. Walmart fires a lot of employees, but most often it’s for attendance issues or theft. I’ve also seen a lot of managers fired for various reasons, often involving rudeness, theft, or doing things that could plunge the company into lawsuits or public relations problems. More shocking is the number of prospective employees who never get hired in the first place because they fail drug tests.

  • fast45

    Unions are for people who have few marketable skills and cannot speak for themselves. For groups like teachers, firefighters, and Postal workers, unions amount to protection-racket schemes that would make Al Capone proud. They should all be outlawed.

  • The SuperStorm

    Why is this even in the news? The bottom line is; we live in a free market society in the United States the last time I looked. If you don’t like the wages Wal~Mart provides its employees, find another job. If you don’t like the way the company conducts business, don’t shop them. I made the decision years ago not to do any business with the likes of Wal~Mart, just like Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Chase, Wells Fargo, Comcast, etc. I believe in putting my hard earned money into locally owned and operated independent businesses. By doing so the money from that business stays with my community and builds its infrastructure.
    That’s free market.

    If more people took responsibility for their own actions and decisions, we would all be better off.

  • Walmart_Insider

    The SuperStorm wrote: “ I believe in putting my hard earned money into locally owned and operated independent businesses. By doing so the money from that business stays with my community and builds its infrastructure.”

    I don’t think it’s clear that independent businesses are better for a community than a big-box store like Wal-Mart. The store I work at posts sales of well over $1 million per week, pays a fortune in city and state sales taxes to build the community infrastructure, employs hundreds of local workers, sells local products and produce when available, and raises money for local causes like Children’s Hospital.

    Yes, Wal-Mart profits are paid out to shareholders nationwide, but local independent business owners don’t hide their profits under mattresses either. If they invest them, some of the money probably leaves the area.

    Also, did you know you could be doing business with Wal-Mart even when you think you’re not? Many independent store owners buy their merchandise tax-exempt from Wal-Mart then resell it at a profit. If people want to pay more for the convenience of shopping closer to home, I don’t have a problem with that.

  • The SuperStorm

    Walmart_Insider wrote: “I don’t think it’s clear that independent businesses are better for a community than a big-box store like Wal-Mart.”

    Then obviously WI you have not lived in or been to small town USA where the only businesses that are left in town are Multi-National corporations like WMC. You have not witnessed the destruction of a communities back bone by these friendly tax generating companies. I have, and its not pretty. WMC comes in, gets incentives to build a store in the form of tax breaks, buyoff’s, etc. and then undercuts the competition until they are gone. Great marketing logic. How do you define that as good for a town or city from your viewpoint?

    “The store I work at posts sales of well over $1 million per week, pays a fortune in city and state sales taxes to build the community infrastructure, employs hundreds of local workers, sells local products and produce when available, and raises money for local causes like Children’s Hospital.”

    Really? Than the cities and towns that have WMC stores should be doing phenominal financially, with a sound infrastructure and happy people making a great living? Something’s amiss in this logic.

    WMC’s supply chain execution is indeed massive. Like this?
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/oct/18/walmart-supply-chain-agencies-accused-wage-theft

  • Walmart_Insider

    The SuperStorm wrote: “Then obviously WI you have not lived in or been to small town USA where the only businesses that are left in town are Multi-National corporations like WMC. You have not witnessed the destruction of a communities back bone by these friendly tax generating companies…”

    Don’t you think it’s a little presumptuous of you to say that when you know nothing about me? Actually, I grew up in small towns and still have relatives in them. I’ve never heard any of them complaining about Walmart. And your other comments are too vague to respond to. You “witnessed the destruction of a communities [sic] back bone [sic]?” What the heck does that mean?

    When a Walmart moves into a smaller town, the usual tradeoffs are involved. Some local merchants will be put out of business because Walmart can sell goods cheaper. This is called “competition,” and it’s the basis of the free market system. Town residents will benefit from being able to buy a wider variety of goods at lower prices. Jobs will be lost, and others will be gained.

    About the Paul Harris article, a quick check of his other work shows that he likes to carry water for union organizers, so it’s hardly surprising to find him ranting against Walmart. But from a business perspective, it makes perfect sense for Walmart to outsource its trucking operation, since Walmart’s expertise is in retail, not trucking. Any big trucking company is going to have some disgruntled employees. Elwood, Illinois has a booming population and a median household income of $78,515, so it sounds to me like the community’s backbone is in pretty good shape.

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