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What affect are striking Walmart employees having on shoppers?

Reader's of our blog know that we've been following the striking Walmart employees since October, explaining how current and former employees have been gathering in protest of Walmart's unfair business practices towards its employees.

Despite the thousands of protesters across 46 states, it would seem that the retail powerhouse isn't backing down. And after the surprising turnouts on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, it would seem that shoppers weren't deterred by the striking either.

"You gotta go where the sales are," said one Dallas shopper who, despite shopping just after midnight on the eve of Black Friday, admitted that she had mixed feelings about shopping that night. She told reporters that she had just finished a 12-hour shift at Walgreens before going to Walmart; a 12-hour shift she says where she wasn't paid nearly enough to work either. She understood where they were coming from and hoped that their efforts would be rewarded eventually.

This seemed to be a general sentiment across shoppers all over the nation, including those here in Indiana. The effort of the strikers to gain awareness of low pay and lack of benefits was not met without the occasional honk of a horn or pat on the back from a passing shopper. But many people point out that supporting the strikers' causes with kind words will mean nothing if these actions do not have a real impact on working conditions for employees.

For shoppers in Dallas, although many of them supported the strikers, many were not willing to acknowledge the link between the discounted products they were buying and the low-wage jobs connected to them.

Although workers are claiming low wages, relatively no benefits and unfair business practices, Walmart insists that it's staying competitive in the industry claiming that it pays its workers well above what many sources consistently quote them at.

Though there seems to be little budging on either side of the wage and hours dispute, many have pointed out that the holiday season isn't quite over yet, giving strikers' still more time to make their voices heard.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Walmart Strike Hits 100 Cities, but Fails to Distract Black Friday Shoppers," Kathleen Miles and Alice Hines, Nov. 23, 2012

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