Picket signs welcome Missoula Walmart shoppers

MISSOULA COUNTY

POSTED: 7:08 PM Nov 23 2012
Picket signs welcome Missoula Walmart shoppers
MISSOULA Mont. -

Picket signs greeted Walmart shoppers across the country.

Demonstrators used Black Friday to stand in solidarity with Walmart workers trying to organize.

Some Walmart employees complain the powerful, mega store retaliates against workers beating any union or worker's rights drum.

The protests spread to as many as 1,000 stores.

Missoula's Super Walmart was one.

It was toe crunching cold for demonstrators greeting early Walmart shoppers and employees.

Picketers bundled for the weather and a lengthy stay.

Pro labor groups said Walmart can afford better for its legions of workers.

"The Walton family that owns Walmart owns as much wealth as 42% of the poorest people in the United States,said Unite Here 427 executive officer Mark Anderlik.

But Walmart worker Norma Pearson said the company treats her well.

She said she gets a regular raise, has three weeks of vacation, sick pay, and good benefits.

No Walmart workers joined the protests.

Picketers passed out fliers in good holiday spirt.

One loyal Walmart shopper said good for the picketers.

"Walmart products are great," said Peggy Miller, "They need to treat their workers the same way the treat their products."

But there was plenty of anti union sentiment.

Some yelled "unions suck" to the picketers.

One retired union worker came to talk off camera.

He said unions don't protect their workers anyway.

Mabel Weis took a flier and listened politely to a demonstrator.

She knows many of Missoula's Walmart workers, and said if they didn't have this job they may not have a job at all.

Peter McCay was on his way to the store to shop.

But he did a turnaround.

McCay is a retired small business owner himself.

"I'm not afraid of unions," said McCay, " they brought in the 40 hour week, weekends off. People seem to forget what unions have done for them."

McCay joined the protestors in solidarity, greeting shoppers as they drove into the parking lot.

But the demonstration didn't seem to phase business much.

The Walmart parking lot was full.