Dozens of protesters were arrested at demonstrations around the country on Black Friday as some workers and their supporters tried to shine the spotlight on low wages at the world’s largest retailer, NBC News reports.
The protesters want Wal-Mart to raise wages by 42 percent from $8.81 an hour to $12.50 an hour, which would increase salaries to $25,000 from $17,000 annually, the report shows.
But Wal-Mart officials released a statement, saying the company “provides wages on the higher end of the retail average with full-time and part-time associates making, on average, close to $12.00 an hour. The majority of our workforce is full-time, and our average full-time hourly pay is $12.81 an hour. We are also proud of the benefits we offer our associates, including affordable health care, performance-based bonuses, education benefits, and access to a 401K.”
About 10 people were arrested at a demonstration of about 75 people outside a store in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, reportedly for blocking traffic. Two of the people arrested were Wal-Mart employees, CNBC reports.
“Everyone has a living wage, and we need one, too,” said Myron Byrd, 45, one of the Wal-Mart workers who was led away in handcuffs by police, the site says.
One protester, dressed as Santa Claus and carrying a sign reading, “Santa supports workers, why doesn’t Wal-Mart?” was arrested at a demonstration in Ontario, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reports.
Union leaders and some workers have been organizing protests to push large retailers and restaurant chains to increase wages. But critics say few of the protesters are actual workers. Organizers, however, charge that it’s because workers fear retribution.
Read more at NBC News.