As shoppers line up outside super retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for early holiday bargains, they may be rubbing shoulders with protesting Walmart workers, according to news reports.
As the hottest shopping day of the retail calendar looms, a group of Wal-Mart employees, protesting low wages and benefit cuts, is vowing to walk out on Black Friday, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
The union supporting the strikes, United Food & Commercial Workers, has promised 1,000 nationwide nonviolent protests. An online list of stores slated for protests listed organizers for events at local Wal-Marts on Southeast 14th Street and in Windsor Heights. One of those names was for Occupy Des Moines activist Jess Mazour.
The average Wal-Mart associate earns about $8.81 an hour, or a yearly wage of about $15,500, meaning that hundreds of thousands of the company's workers live below the poverty line, the union contends.
A group called Our Walmart is seeking wages of $13 per hour and is calling on the company to make full-time jobs available for employees who want them. The company disputes these characterizations and says on its website that it offers "competitive wages, good benefits and the chance to grow and build a career."
Data from unions indicate that Wal-Mart employees are the largest recipients of government assistance among those who are employed in a huge number of states. That means that taxpayers are on the hook for these benefits to the tune of more than $1 billion, reports MSN Money.