BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - On Black Friday, holiday shoppers will find 'doorbuster' deals and, perhaps, come face to face with protestors who will be calling for better hours, wages and benefits at some of the nation's biggest box stores.
On Thursday - Thanksgiving Day - the Walmart Supercenter in Boynton Beach, along with others across the country, will be opening for Black Friday shopping. Protestors have already taken to the parking lots and streets outside Walmart stores in other areas. Soon, it will be occurring at the South Federal Highway location.
"I think it's a little crazy," said Thomas Schroeder of Delray Beach. He is a former Black Friday shopper. "I don't think I'd ever do it again," he said.
Black Friday this year is creeping into Thanksgiving Thursday. The Corporate Action Network is among those pushing for protests at approximately twenty Walmart stores across the U.S. on Friday morning. The protestors are aiming to call attention to the retailer's adjusted Thanksgiving hours. Many Walmarts will open at 8 p.m. on the holiday.
"If people think that buying a TV for $400 is better than hanging out with their family on Thanksgiving, then all for them, but I think it's crazy," said Schroeder, who was shopping at Walmart on Tuesday evening.
Target stores were also targeted with petitions and protest. The chain moved its Black Friday opening to 9 p.m. on Thursday at most locations.
Protestors on Friday will also be calling on Walmart to pay employees better, offer more full-time jobs and provide more affordable health insurance. Some employees are expected to join the protestor ranks despite Walmart corporate management petitioning the federal government to prevent it.
"We think our employees are getting some really bad advice from the union," said David Tovar, a Walmart spokesperson. "Because while they do have rights and we respect those rights, there are some actions that we will take if people don't follow our company policies," he said.
Walmart management says employee pay and benefits are as good, if not better, than competitors. The average pay for a Florida Walmart employee is $12.72 per hour. Many employees may find themselves earning that wage on the night of Thanksgiving, whether they signed up for it or not.