Occupy Tyler joins nationwide protest against Walmart

TYLER (KYTX) - Thousands of workers are asking for better pay and benefits from one of the largest employers in the country.

Members of Occupy Tyler picked up their signs and headed out early this morning to make an impression on Black Friday shoppers.

The group is non-partisan and says it's mission is to fight corporate corruption.

Although there were only two of them, they showed their support of workers in East Texas and across the country.

Nanette Rainer and Louis Hale stand in front of Walmart on Troup Highway, holding signs and drawing the attention of drivers.

"You can see someone sitting at the red light not talking, then they read the sign and they're talking to each other," says Rainer.

They're with Occupy Tyler. Rainer says the signs are a way to tell people about things workers want improved at the super store: wages, benefits and working conditions.

All on Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Protestors say they want to get Walmart's attention.

"It's a way to hurt the bottom line," says Rainer.

While no workers at walked out of stores in Tyler, there are expected to be more than 1,000 protests across the county in other cities, even as close as Dallas.

From California to Georgia, workers walked out of the doors and picked up signs.

There were several union backed protests across the U.S.

Police even arrested demonstrators at a rally near Los Angeles.

But according to David Tovar, Vice President of Corporate Communications with Walmart,

"The number of protests being reported by the UFCW are grossly exaggerated. We are aware of a few dozen protests at our stores today. The number of associates that have missed their scheduled shift today is more than 60 percent less than Black Friday last year."

Still, the couple says she's gotten positive signs from workers here.

"I think we're making a difference. We're changing, possibly changing, one mind at a time," says Louis Hale with Occupy Tyler.

In the release from Walmart corporate offices, it stated the group doesn't speak for the more than one million workers they employ.

The release also states the corporation had their best Black Friday ever, and called the protests "made for TV stunts."

There were several dozen protests in different cities.

Occupy Tyler members protested in front of several locations within East Texas today.


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