Written by Michelle Corless, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
IOWA CITY (KWWL) -
While many were in stores today doing their holiday shopping, others spent the day outside the nation's largest retailer protesting.
According to Walmart officials there were 26 protests at stores last night.
But that number doesn't include the many rallies that happened today-like the one Iowa City.
That rally started at 11am.
It was a small group but they were hoping to make a lot of noise.
"Enough is enough.," said Jennifer Marsh, Union Organizer. "The pay is too low. They've got to stop the intimidation of workers and stop trying to scare people from standing up from their rights."
Not one of the people was a Walmart employee.
However they believe practices at Walmart are hurting the rest of the country.
"Walmart sets a lot of the standards in this country as the largest private employer," said Jason Whisler, President of COGS UE local 896. "They're driving down wages in their retail stores, in their chain of supply, all the way through drives down wages for workers all over the United States."
The group says they wanted to come out and show support for workers in their community.
"In a lot of small towns in Iowa, Walmart is the only store that's left," said Marsh. "They've driven out mom and pop small businesses. And so I think it matters to Iowans because they should be able to feel good about where they shop."
The protest in Iowa City was just one of many nationwide organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
Very few had company employees in attendance.
"We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide," said Bill Simon, Walmart President and CEO in a press release. "In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year."
Eligible Walmart employees will receive holiday pay for working Black Friday events.
They also receive an extra discount on food throughout the holiday season.
Walmart had their biggest Black Friday event ever this year-hitting more than 10 million register transactions eight and midnight nationwide.
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