ROSEVILLE (CBS13/AP) – Protesters are waging a war against Walmarts across the country today. More than two dozen people were arrested in protests at California Walmart stores during the Black Friday shopping surge.
“Organizing is our right,” said one protester.
Police in Roseville arrested 15 people following a protest at a Walmart there, police said. The protesters were taken into custody for failing to disperse when they blocked an intersection in the Placer County city, police Sgt. Jeff Kool said.
The protesters had marched about a half mile to the intersection following a demonstration that included about 100 people protesting Walmart’s wages and labor practices, The Sacramento Bee reported.
They’re slashing prices, but is Walmart are they also slashing pay?
“They’re creating a class of working poor and that has a tremendous impact on our entire community,” said Jacques loveall, president of United Food and Commercial Workers.
Loveall says what’s happening at Walmart is bad for tax payers because some workers need government assistance.
Does solidarity work?
Dianne Fairl quit working at Walmart just last week. She says the box store doesn’t pay livable wages.
“In my year there I was only up for one raise; only received a $.40 raise, which only put me at $8.80 an hour,” she said.
Some former employees out protesting say if they tried to unionize or ask for more money, their hours were cut.
“They started lowering the number of hours people had so they didn’t have to provide healthcare,” said Loveall.
Amelia McLear, a spokeswoman for Walmart Stores Inc., told the newspaper the protesters were a “vocal minority.”
“We’re always willing to have a dialogue with our critics but it’s hard to have a dialogue with people screaming into a megaphone,” McLear said.
Walmart CEO Bill Simon is defending the retail giant. He says the company’s workers are not underpaid.
“We pay in the top half of retail. Our industry offers the opportunity for people to enter at really any life stage from 16 all the way to 76, if they would like to, and then they work hard and they can build a career,” said Simon during an interview with CNN.
Jeff Dierdorff is one of those whose built a career at Walmart, having worked there for seven years and was just promoted to an assistant manager. He says he’s never heard any employees at the Roseville Walmart complain about pay
“As long as you’re doing your job, you’re going to get compensated,” said Dierdorff.
In Southern California, 10 people were arrested from among more than 100 members of a labor group and their supporters after they sat down in an Ontario intersection and waited to be taken away by police.
Despite the protest, shoppers across the nation flocked in the thousands to Walmart to take advantage of its Black Friday deals.
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Redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)