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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Small group protests Lakeview Walmart on Black Friday
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2012-11-28

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Lakeview's Walmart Express store, 3636 N. Broadway, was the target of a small Black Friday demonstration Nov. 23.

Demonstrators called on the company to offer high wages, more hours, full family benefits and more respect to workers.

The demonstration was one of many held across the nation and throughout the Chicago area on one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) and OUR Walmart, an organization of employees, called for the protests.

Walmart said that reports of massive worker walk offs on Black Friday had been overblown.

"We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide. In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year," said Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

The company also stated that workers received holiday pay on Black Friday and were offered special discounts, but it did not respond directly to allegations that it underpays and under schedules employees.

Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), an organization that advocates for workers' rights, organized the Lakeview demonstration. A handful of protesters gathered at the store in the blistering cold to deliver letters to the store's manager.

IWJ's Joan Flanagan urged demonstrators to approach the store's management with respect.

"What we're doing is legal," she said. "What we're doing is ethical."

Two Walmart staffers greeted demonstrators at the door, took the letters and promised to pass them along.


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