Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Nearly 100 people protested in Louisville Friday because they say they want better treatment for Walmart employees. The demonstrators marched at the Walmart on the 100 block of Outer Loop and joined protests nationwide.
"I want to see people being able to afford food in their house, be able to pay their bills, be able to take care of your family," said one Walmart employee.
Organization United for Respect at Walmart and United Food and Commercial Workers Union worked together to organize Friday's event.
Former Walmart employees and even city leaders marched today to bring awareness to employee rights, higher wages, and justice in the workplace.
"If they are on welfare and they are working really hard and they still can't afford to pay their bills that's not a healthy counting, and it's not right," said one protestor.
Excerpt from "A Voice for Working America" News Release:
With building frustration around the unanswered calls to Walmart to stop its attempts to silence workers who are speaking out for better jobs, Louisville community groups picketed to support Walmart workers around the country who walked off the job today. The groups began picketing at around 10:30am at Walmart's Supercenter located on the Outer Loop [175 Outer Loop, Louisville, KY]. Some Walmart workers have been calling on Walmart to address low take-home pay, understaffing that is keeping workers from receiving sufficient hours, safety issues and respect. Other workers are also speaking out about the early start of Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day, which will keep many of them from being able to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with their families.
Statement from David Tovar, Vice President, Corporate Communications:
Today, Walmart U.S. reported its best ever Black Friday events. The retailer saw larger crowds than last year and a huge response to its first ever one-hour guarantee on key electronic items.
“I’m so proud of what our more than 1.3 million associates have done to prepare and execute our Black Friday plans, giving our customers a great start to their Christmas shopping season,” said Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and chief executive officer. “The work of our associates is even more impressive when you consider they served approximately 22 million customers on Thursday.
Walmart’s Black Friday plan included three events this year at 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. During the high traffic period from 8 p.m. through midnight, Walmart processed nearly 10 million register transactions and almost 5,000 items per second.
During the 8 p.m. event, customers filled shopping carts with gaming consoles, video games, DVDs, Furbys, fashion dolls, board games and Crock-Pots.
At 10 p.m. it was all about electronics, including big-screen TVs, tablets, laptops and digital cameras. Customers were particularly excited about Walmart’s “guaranteed” items, and the turnout for the iPad 2, Emerson 32” LCD TV and LG Blu-ray player was amazing. Customers appreciated this historic offering knowing they were guaranteed to put one of these gifts under their trees.
Since its events began at 8 p.m., Walmart sold more than:
• 1.8 million towels,
• 1.3 million televisions,
• 1.3 million dolls and
• 250,000 bicycles.
“We had very safe and successful Black Friday events at our stores across the country and heard overwhelmingly positive feedback from our customers,” Simon said.
In response to the UFCW’s planned protests, Simon added, “Only 26 protests occurred at stores last night and many of them did not include any Walmart associates.” In addition, the company did not experience the walk-offs that were promised by the UFCW. “We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide. In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year,” Simon said.
Walmart associates receive a 10 percent discount on general merchandise bought at Walmart stores all year long. Earlier this holiday season, the company rewarded associates with a special holiday discount of 10 percent off most food items from November 9 to January 1 to help make the holidays for its associates and their families even more special.
Also, to recognize those associates who helped serve customers during its Black Friday events, the company is providing an additional 10 percent discount on an entire basket of goods. Eligible associates who helped execute Walmart’s Black Friday events will also receive holiday pay.
Black Friday is just the start to a full holiday season of savings at Walmart.