Minnesota workers press wage, scheduling demands on Black Friday

Walmart employee David Rosenfeld
Walmart employee David Rosenfeld speaks to about 120 protesters in downtown Minneapolis on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015 about why he believes workers need a higher wage.
Jon Collins | MPR News

Workers marched through the skyways of downtown Minneapolis on Black Friday asking for $15 an hour and advance scheduling.

The banging drums and chants of about 120 workers and their supporters were met with amusement by many shoppers and workers in the skyway — some even waved in support. But the protest left security guards scrambling as demonstrators streamed through the hallways.

David Rosenfeld works at a Bloomington Walmart as an overnight stocker. Although Walmart announced in the spring that starting workers will be paid $9 an hour, he said many Walmart workers haven't benefited from those changes. He said he makes $10.95 after a year of working the night shift.

"Fifteen [dollars an hour] is the minimum, is what we need," Rosenfeld said. "That's the kind of wage where maybe you wouldn't have to work a second job, or that type of thing, or that you could support your kids without going on government assistance, which is what a lot of people have to do."

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Protester Tecara Monn waved at workers behind the glass of a U.S. Bank location in the skyway as the march passed on Friday afternoon. Some waved back.

"For 20 years I've had to work every holiday," Monn said. "I worked those days because I was scared, I was worried about if I wasn't as flexible as the job needed me to be, that they would fire me. And how was I going to take care of my kids?"

Labor groups have protested Walmart and other retailers on Black Friday over the last few years.

The push to improve pay and working conditions has won some supporters at Minneapolis City Hall. But city leaders stepped back from a "fair scheduling" proposal after widespread opposition from businesses.