Protesters Gather To Boycott Black Friday In OKC
OKLAHOMA CITY - In the midst of the Black Friday shopping frenzy, a group of protesters took on Walmart, calling for higher wages and better hours for its employees.
"People that are coming out of Walmart are honking at us," Terry Goforth said, delighted to get a response in her protest. "They agree with us," she said.
Goforth and other activists with the Central Oklahoma Community Forum stood outside the retail giant near NW Expressway and Council Road, Friday morning, trying to warn customers that Walmart's employees will end up paying for any big bargains offered inside.
"Somebody has got to stand up for these people because if they come out and do this they will be fired," said Goforth.
She and other protesters claimed the Walmart employees are mistreated, grossly underpaid, and denied full-time schedules.
So, they demanded a raise in wages.
"We think with the billions of dollars Walmart makes in profits they can afford to pay a worker in there $15 an hour," said Tim O'Connor.
O'Connor organized the rally in Oklahoma City. He felt it was important to join in the nationwide efforts to make consumers aware of their concerns.
He said it's become a tradition of sorts to protest on Black Friday. "It's one of their busiest days and potential to make the most money," said O'Connor.
The protests didn't exactly deter people from their holiday shopping.
Last year, despite the biggest-ever Black Friday protest, Walmart announced it had 22 million customers that day.
Walmart disputed the claims, calling the protests mere media spectacles involving only a few protesters who don't speak for most of the company's million plus workers.
And Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello also disagreed with the protest.
He said he believes the free-market should dictate wages.
In a statement issued Friday, Costello said, "The push by union bosses for a minimum wage to $15 an hour would inevitably lead to fewer jobs created, layoffs, and inflation."
Costello also said, "Free markets create prosperity, not politically motivated government edicts."
That said, Terry Goforth and her fellow labor activist chose to disagree by continuing their fight.
"My solution you know is to help everyone in the world," said Goforth.