Protesters target Arizona Walmarts on Black Friday

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Protests are planned at Walmart stores in Phoenix, Tempe and Buckeye on Friday over the retail giant's employment practices.

The demonstrations are part of a national movement. Walmart workers in several cities are planning strikes. The employees are threatening to not show up for their shifts when Walmart opens for Black Friday sales at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Walmart workers are seeking pay raises to $13 an hour, along with more full-time work and more affordable healthcare.

Walmart officials released a statement Monday afternoon, reading, "We respect the rights of our associates to express their views but if they are scheduled to work, we expect them to show up and do their job."

Walmart is Arizona's largest private employer. With 30,000 employees, it triples the number of Arizonans working at other large companies, like Kroger, Intel, Honeywell, and US Airways.

The employees received some sympathy from shoppers outside Phoenix stores Monday.

"I think it's crappy," Rikki Austin said. "It's time you should be spending with your family."

"That's ridiculous," added Brett Wagner. "They should have the whole day with their family."

"It's corporate greed," Vaughn Mraz said.

Still, others sided with Walmart.

"Well, they don't have to work until after their Thanksgiving meals," Elizabeth Martinez said. "Some people don't even have jobs, so at least they  have a job."

"It goes both ways," Chauncey Booth said. "On one hand, they should be grateful to have to a job, but on the other, it sucks that they have to work."