Black Friday: Walmart Employees Stage Protests to Demand Higher Pay

November 29, 2013 | | CBS Moneywatch |

Anthony Goytia, who works nights stocking shelves at a Walmart store in Duarte, Calif., says all he wants from the retailer is a living wage and a little respect. "I'm a hard worker and take pride in my work," said the 31-year-old, who as a part-time employee earns $9.60 an hour, or roughly $12,000 a year. "I'm not a slacker. I'm there on time. I give it my all, and it's only fair I should be compensated for that."

Goytia is one of the Walmart employees and labor activists taking part in demonstrations around the U.S. today against the company, the world's biggest retailer, to protest what they say is inadequate pay. The campaign is being led by Our Walmart, a group affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers union, and is timed to coincide with Black Friday, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. [...]

Raising workers' pay would not only benefit Walmart employees, but also the company and shareholders, some experts believe.

"There's a strong case to be made that Walmart's investing in its front-line workforce would be good for shareholder value over the longer term," said Amy Traub, a senior policy analyst at Demos, a New York think-tank that backs a wage increase for Walmart workers.

Traub notes that Walmart spent $7.6 billion last year to repurchase its own shares in order to boost the company's stock price. Funneling that money into higher wages would boost employee productivity and benefit the company as a whole, she said. "It's a mistake to see pay raises strictly as a cost, as opposed to seeing it as an investment in human capital."  

Read the full report: A Higher Wage Is Possible