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Wal-Mart Employees And Supporters Follow Through On Strike Threats

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By Jericka Duncan, Chelsea Karnash and Dray Clark

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Some angry Wal-Mart employees and their supporters followed through with a promise to strike over Black Friday hours.

They’re are upset over labor issues and this year’s Thanksgiving night store opening at 8 p.m. They’re also demanding the retailer increase pay and benefits.

While most of the protesters in South Philadelphia were not actually employees, in Northeast Philadelphia, at least two were.

“Someone’s got to stand up,” one person said.

While Wal-Mart workers aren’t unionized, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union is trying to change that.

On Friday afternoon, Wal-Mart released an official statement that reads:

“The number of protests being reported by the UFCW are grossly exaggerated. We are aware of a few dozen protests at our stores today. The number of associates that have missed their scheduled shift today is more than 60 percent less than Black Friday last year.

“It was proven last night – and again today – that the OUR Walmart group doesn’t speak for the 1.3 million Walmart associates. We had our best Black Friday ever (see attached) and OUR Walmart was unable to recruit more than a small number of associates to participate in these made for TV events. Press reports are now exposing what we have said all along – the large majority of protesters aren’t even Walmart workers.”

The company also said they “saw larger crowds than last year and a huge response to its first ever one-hour guarantee on key electronic items.”

Wal-Mart’s Black Friday plan included three events this year at 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. During the high traffic period from 8 p.m. through midnight, Wal-Mart says it processed nearly 10 million register transactions and almost 5,000 items per second.

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