SACRAMENTO, CA - Dozens of Walmart workers and their supporters took to downtown Sacramento Thursday afternoon to show solidarity in a quest for higher wages and better working hours.
The demonstration was one of at least 15 in large cities around the country Thursday.
The protest began at Cesar Chavez park, next to an office of Christopher Williams, a Walmart Board member and head of Williams Capital Management.
The building shut down before protestors could carry the petitions inside so they left them in front.
The protestors seek a minimum salary of $25,000 for full-time employment. They also want reinstatement for workers allegedly fired earlier this year for striking.
Norma Dobyns and her daughter Yvette Brown said they were fired by the Walmart store in Placerville after they went to company headquarters to push for higher wages.
"They told me we don't honor strikes and I said, 'Nope, we're standing up for our constitutional rights and you were wrong for firing us illegally,'" Brown said.
Nine protestors, including Brown and her mother, were arrested by Sacramento police for blocking the sidewalk.
Kory Lundberg, Walmart spokesperson, countered that the wage in California is $13.03 for store associates and their 40,000 assistant managers earn on average over $50,000 a year.
"Walmart offers unparallel opportunity that you can't find anywhere else," Lundberg said.
Several shoppers outside the Walmart store in Natomas said they supported the demand for higher wages, even if it meant paying more for merchandise.
"I think it's definitely reasonable to be paid more. It's a hard job," shopper Kayla Bejsovec said.
"I'm in agreement that I believe that they're entitled to fair wages and benefits," shopper Karen Taylor said.
Protestors eventually marched to the Capitol, where they were joined by several legislators and labor leaders who spoke in support.
"It's much more important to have that investment here through decent wages and benefits than it is accruing to people who never invest in our community, " Assem. Roger Dickinson, D- Sacramento, said.