Protests amid Black Friday shopping at Renton Walmart
By TRACEY COMPTON
Renton Reporter Staff writer
November 26, 2012 · Updated 4:42 PM
A handful of people protested in front of the Renton Walmart on Black Friday to draw attention to company practices they feel are unfair towards Walmart workers.
The event was part of a nationwide effort to include 1,000 Walmart workers and community members standing up against what they call retaliation against workers seeking to improve their workplaces.
"It's important to me; this is my community," said Amanda Everly. "I was born and raised in Renton."
Everly was out in the downpour handing out information and picketing the store with billboards. She has watched as the retail giant's arrival in Renton has sparked the downfall of other stores, she says. She is a child therapist in the city and although she does not know any Walmart workers personally, she felt the need to support their cause.
"Our taxpayer dollars are supporting Walmart instead of (its) workers," Everly said.
She cites issues like the company over-hiring workers at minimum wage and offering no benefits.
Melvin Neifert was also out supporting Walmart workers by protesting on Black Friday.
"It's a high cost for low prices," Neifert said of the sacrifices made by Walmart workers. "It's not like they (Walmart) can't afford to pay their workers."
The Black Friday protest follows last week's one-day strike by Walmart workers in five South King County stores last Thursday.Protests were planned at Walmarts at the Mount Vermon Supercenter and the Port Angeles Supercenter as well Friday.Community partners, labor unions and others were to take part.
In response to the Black Friday protests, Walmart U.S. President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Simon called the day's shopping "safe and successful."
"Only 26 protests occurred at stores last night and many of them did not include any Walmart associates," he said in a press release issued Friday. "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."
Contact Renton Reporter Staff writer Tracey Compton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-255-3484, ext. 5052.