Black Friday Shoppers Not Thwarted By Walmart Employee Strike
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Crowds took over local malls and retail stores looking for the best Black Friday deals. All the while, some workers at Walmart stores staged a walkout.
It’s one of the busiest shopping days of the year, but that didn’t stop hundreds of Walmart workers across the country from striking.
Protesters outside a Placerville Walmart heckled a company spokesperson as she tried to give an interview.
“You only care about yourself. That’s all you care about,” yelled one protester. “You corporate people with all your looks and all your money.”
“This is a made-for-TV publicity stunt, designed to mislead our customers and our associates,” said Amelia McLear, Walmart senior public affairs manager.
The outrage over Walmart wages took front and center stage at stores across the country this Black Friday.
“We don’t want to come out and waste our time when it’s not calculated. We want to try and make the biggest impact,” said Carlo Tarantola, California School Employees Association.
However, customers, inside and out, still seemed to go about their business.
“The thing that I wonder about is how many of these people actually are employees,” customer Phil Abbott said.
His curiosity was correct, not all protesters were Walmart employees. Outside union organizers were also on hand.
“We have to come out and support them because Walmart can’t retaliate against us,” said Tarantola. “So they have to know that they do have support.”
While bullhorns and picket signs were present on this Black Friday, the focus at Walmart was not only on holiday shopping.
Walmart employee Margaret Hooten says she’s protesting the poor working conditions.
“We’ve become more and more verbal. They’ve become more and more aware of us, who we are in the store,” said Hooten.
She says her store has hired 40 temporary workers and began cutting regular employees’ hours.
“I’ve gone from 32 hours a week to just 18,” Hooten said.
Hooten, who has worked at Walmart for a year-and-a-half, has a message to those that say she is lucky to have a job.
“Try living on $870 a month with no health benefits,” she said.