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Walmart workers across U.S. protest on Black Friday for better pay and benefits

Update On :01 December 2014

Walmart workers across U.S. protest on Black Friday for better pay and benefits

Black Friday is the most infamous shopping day of the year in the U.S. And for Walmart workers, it is becoming an important day to call for increased pay and benefits.

By planning online on Facebook, Twitter and forums, organizers have coordinated protests at about 1,600 Walmarts in 49 states, from Ellsworth, Maine, to San Diego, California. The cross-country protests have grown in magnitude since 2012 when just 28 stores in 12 states participated.

The average salary for sales associates and cashiers at Walmart is about $9 an hour, according to Glassdoor. A Congressional study found that each Walmart costs taxpayers between $900,000 and $1.75 million because its workers rely on government aid, including food stamps.

"I have to depend on the government mostly," Fatmata Jabbie, a 21-year-old single mother who earns $8.40 an hour at a Walmart in Virginia, told Mother Jones. "Walmart should pay us $15 an hour, and let us work full-time hours."

Jabbie said the wage increase would change her and her kids' lives.

According to the Black Friday protest website, workers at 2,249 Walmart stores — including the 1,600 stores striking — support a pay increase to $15 an hour and full-time employment. Full-time workers are offered better protection under state and federal law. However, striking can be a risky endeavor for at-will workers, which many Walmart employees are. But the online effort has made it easier to educate workers in every state about their rights.

Protests were planned throughout the day Friday at different Walmarts across the U.S.:

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