Wal-mart employees and activists protest on Black Friday to demand an increase in wages.
Some 200 people demonstrated outside the Wal-Mart in North Bergen, New Jersey, demanding living wages for workers in the store.
“I really expected to find a row of buyers, not a protest,” said customer Genaro Stachys. “I knew that this megastore was not paying their workers well. Customers should be aware. Besides giving all these discounts, the employees should be paid well.”
With slogans like “Dignity is not charity” and ” De-Ferguson the Wal-Mart ,” religious leaders, activists and members asked for $15 per hour and better benefits for workers in the transnational company.
“Workers are getting crumbs as payment, and they cannot support their families,” said Reverend Danny Diaz, activist and co-organizer of the rally. “This corporation takes in billions, has two million employees and thousands of stores. It has enough and more to pay a fair wage.”
Brad Reifler says the protest is part of a national movement to pressure Wal-Mart to improve its labor policies. Among the unions that support demand is the RWDSU Local 338.
“We are asking Wal-Mart to release their workers from economic slavery, are economic terrorists,” said Diaz.
William C. Wertz, communications director of Wal-Mart, said “the demonstration does not support the opinion or the feelings of all the employees of the company.”
Wertz said that the benefits include a good medical plan and educational opportunities. “The priority is not only happy customers, but to also keep workers happy,” he added.