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SALT LAKE CITY — Black Friday shoppers were greeted with more than just holiday sales at several Wal-Mart locations across the nation, including Utah. They also found protesters.
The Black Friday solidarity demonstration was planned to express opposition to Wal-Mart's poor labor practices, low pay, and part-time hours and as a way to encourage Wal-Mart Associates to organize and band together. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Wal-Mart Associates from across the country are expected to walk off the job and picket outsides Wal-Mart stores on Friday.
The Black Friday strikes in particular have been organized to support Wal-Mart workers who have already been fired for speaking out at their workplace. Organizers have called the firings violation of the Unfair Labor Practices Act.
Utah chapters of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor (CMPL) organized the rally in Salt Lake City at the Wal-Mart located at 300 W. and 1300 S.
About 60 people gathered to demonstrate at the Salt Lake City Wal-Mart against what they are calling unfair treatment of Wal-Mart employees by the corporation. However, none of the Wal-Mart employees have currently joined in the walk out.
"It's the biggest day of shopping and people need to know when they are going to shop at Wal-Mart what they're actually buying," said protestor, Michael Broumas. "Which is cheap labor, cheap products and the reality is the majority of it is subsidized by them. And that's why it's even cheaper."
The protestors continued to picket for their cause for several hours.
"Right to work makes people think that it sounds great," said protestor Raphael Cordray. "But, really it strips the workers from their own protections and abilities to organize or file grievances in certain instances."
However, despite the protests, a Walmart press release reported best-ever early Black Friday results. At peak period, it was reported that Walmart processed 5,000 items per second. The protest is continuing on, but it hasn't stopped Black Friday shoppers who have continued to pour into the Salt Lake City Wal-Mart.
Contributing: Associated Press