Kansas City residents may have heard that protests over fair wages are being held across the country at metropolitan Walmart stores in cities like Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Sacramento. Employees and labor unions are firmly requesting the company to provide a wage of at least $25,000 annually and more full-time positions. Protesters have also alleged that the company has violated their employee rights by illegally retaliating against workers involved in the protests.

The vice president of communications at Walmart reported that fewer protests are expected than the number the workers’ rights group planned. Additionally, he noted that many of the protestors are not Walmart employees and suggested that the protests were not a surprise. The company reported that 22 million people came through its doors on Thanksgiving and that it expects the number of shoppers in the store on Black Friday to break records.

A senior policy analyst from New York who supports a wage increase for Walmart employees strongly believes that investing more in employee pay would benefit the company overall. According to the analyst, Walmart spent $7.6 billion re-purchasing its own shares of the company to boost the individual share price, and she suggested that the money should be put toward higher employee wages which would lead to increased productivity and shareholder value. She suggested that the value of shares from the company would grow over time if this occurred.

Labor disputes and employee protests occur in a variety of settings across the country, and large retailers are often involved in such conflicts with individual employees or union groups. If evidence shows that the Walmart is retaliating against employees who participate in protected demonstrations, a lawyer may be able to help that person pursue a case in court.

Source: CBS News, “Black Friday: Walmart employees stage protests to demand higher pay“, Alain Sherter, November 29, 2013