On Friday, shoppers flocked to Walmart for Black Friday deals - and so did workers protesting for better hours and wages.
Here’s the official response from Walmart, from David Tovar, Vice President, Corporate Communications:
Nov. 29, 2013 – “This has been the most successful Black Friday in Walmart’s history, with customers receiving bigger and better savings and an overall safer shopping experience. We’re proud of the hard work our associates have put into making this a great Black Friday for our customers, and we’re pleased we can provide them with holiday pay equal to an additional day’s work, as well as a 25 percent discount on an entire basket of goods for their extraordinary efforts.
“Black Friday is a big stage, and we’re one of the biggest players in the retail industry. We’re not surprised that those trying to change our industry are using this platform to get their message out, and we respect their right to be heard. We expect some demonstrations at our stores today, although far fewer than what our critics are claiming and with hardly any actual Walmart associates participating.
“For our part, we want to be absolutely clear about our jobs, the pay and benefits we offer our associates, and the role retail jobs play in the U.S. economy. Walmart provides wages on the higher end of the retail average with full-time and part-time associates making, on average, close to $12.00 an hour. The majority of our workforce is full-time, and our average full-time hourly pay is $12.81 an hour. We are also proud of the benefits we offer our associates, including affordable health care, performance-based bonuses, education benefits, and access to a 401K.
“Of course, we have entry-level jobs and we always will. The real issue isn’t where you start. It’s where you can go once you’ve started. Retail is one of the few industries that has jobs at all levels and ongoing advancement opportunities. Walmart promotes on average more than 430 associates a day. By year’s end, we will have promoted 160,000 associates, including 25,000 this holiday season alone. It’s businesses like Walmart that can create opportunities for career growth and greater economic security for families.”