Black Friday is that day when giant retailers lower their prices to make even more money than they usually do. It’s the perfect opportunity for some to buy things they don’t really need, at a better price. Black Friday is also the day when employees want a share of their employer’s proceeds. That is the reason of the current Walmart Black Friday protests, which gathered thousands of employees from 1600 Walmart stores from 49 states.
The Walmart Black Friday protests were held in order to remind the shoppers who are so blindly excited by the lower prices that those who are serving them cannot afford to feed their families and themselves.
Fatmata Jabbie, who works at a Walmart in Alexandria, Virginia and is a single mother, says she is paid with $8.40 an hour. She can barely support her kids. She said that she lives on food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing. She complained that:
“I have to depend on the government mostly. Walmart should pay us $15 an hour and let us work full-time hours. That would change our lives. That would change our whole path. I wouldn’t be dependent on government too much. I could buy clothes for my kids to wear.”
Walmart is the largest employer in the United States, employing more than 1.4 million people, which means 10% of all retails employees. The giant retailer makes more than $16 billion annually but pays its people poverty wages and part-time schedules in order to avoid giving benefits to their workers.
A report issued last year found out that every Walmart store costs tax payers approximately $1.75 yearly because so many Walmart employees are forced to depend on government help.
The Walmart Black Friday protests started before the actual Black Friday. On Wednesday, many Walmart employees walked off their shift and started protesting, demanding a $15 wage and the possibility of a full-time shift. Other Walmart employees left their jobs to join the protest in other cities like Florida, California, Texas, Wisconsin, Oregon, Illionois, Maryland, Louisiana, Washington D.C. and Massachusetts, among others.