As shoppers took advantage of Black Friday sales, some Walmart employees protested in Miami-Dade County what they call low wages and retaliation for complaining.
Though Walmart denies the allegations, employees took their fight to Walmart stores, including in Miami Gardens on Thursday.
“Why did I choose Thanksgiving to walk off the job? I united with my fellow coworkers,” worker Leonette Nottage said. “They feel the same pain that I feel. So therefore, ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’”
Alan Hanson, with United Food and Commercial Workers, added: “Walmart associates for months and months and months have endured retaliation, endured discrimination, have endured Walmart attempting to silence associates.”
Walmart officials said their stores operated normally on Black Friday and, responding to the protests, said the company’s pay and benefit plans are as good as -- or better than -- their retail competitors.
“Only 26 protests occurred at stores last night and many of them did not include any Walmart associates,” Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and chief executive officer, said in a statement Friday.
Walmart said it did not experience walk-offs that were promised by United Food and Commercial Workers. “We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide,” Simon said. “In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year.”
Walmart said employees year-round receive a 10 percent discount on general merchandise, and those who worked on Black Friday received an additional 10 percent discount on a basket of goods. Employees also received holiday pay, the company said.
Friday, the retailer said it saw larger crowds than last year.
Nationwide, since its events began at 8 p.m. Thursday, Walmart said it sold more than 1.8 million towels, 1.3 million televisions, 1.3 million dolls and 250,000 bicycles.