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Dozens rally in support of Walmart workers on Black Friday

TEMPE, Ariz. — Dozens of people in support of Walmart workers, including some from other union shops in the Valley, community activists and Arizona Democratic lawmaker Ruben Gallego, were part of the protest outside of the Walmart on West Elliot Road to demand better pay and benefits for Walmart workers.

Jim Malicki was among those carrying signs that read “People Over Profit” and “Pay us enough to raise a family.”

“They’re (Walmart) not paying employees a livable wage and are taking advantage of middle class America by overworking them and undervaluing the workers,” said Malicki.

Thomas Robles remarked that this protest wasn’t geared toward disrupting Black Friday shoppers, but to make them aware of how Walmart treats its employees.

Robles said Walmart employees are not receiving the benefits and wages they deserve, while the company is raking in billions of dollars.

“It’s causing more wealth inequality and Thanksgiving is no longer a holiday for them. They work all night long and are away from their families,” Robles explained. “Look at what happened in Ohio. Walmart had a food drive to help their own workers. That’s unfair and I’m here in solidarity for these workers.”

Walmart Assistant Manager Patrick Carlen has been with the company 15 years. He said most of his workers are getting at least 33 hours per week and many are getting 40 hours with the holidays here.

“A lot of our associates have been with us for a long time. Even our new hires are making comparative wages to the area around us,” Carlen said. “We compare to what everyone else is making, so we’re all starting at about the equal spot.”

Carlen says Walmart has an open door program for employees to express their concerns and they are willing to work with the employees to resolve issues.