INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – If you went to a Wal-Mart for your Black Friday shopping, you likely were met by protesters.
Protests were held at 1,600 Wal-Mart stores nationwide today, demanding higher pay for employees.
“Poverty wages, retaliation against Wal-Mart workers, a lot of workers don’t have access to full-time hours and you really need that to be able to make a living,” said Mary Kate Dugan, Executive Director of Central Indiana Jobs with Justice, which staged the protest.
The company brings in $16 billion dollars per year. Wal-Mart is Indiana’s and the country’s largest employer, with over 1 million employees.
The group says the average worker makes $25,000 a year, which is about $12 an hour. Protesters are calling for a $15 hourly wage.
“They have the ability to pay so absolutely it should be shared with the people that make that company profitable,” said Dugan.
One of those people is Mary Jones, she’s been at Wal-Mart for 23 years. She says she would’ve left long ago if she was unhappy.
“Wal-Mart has been good to me. This is retail and we’re providing a service to our customers,” said Jones.
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart told 24-Hour News 8 on Friday that these hourly workers have a chance to move up in their career.
“Over 75 percent of our management today started off as hourly associates,” said Kevin Thompson, Wal-mart’s Director of Public Affairs. “So for those that enjoy retail and working with customers Wal-Mart and retail in general is a great opportunity for a career.