Busloads of Protestors Gather at Wal-Mart - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Clinton 06/26/07

Busloads of Protestors Gather at Wal-Mart

By Julie Straw

A better working environment, higher wages, and health benefits.  That's what protestors are asking Wal-Mart to start delivering to its employees.  They came by the busloads.  Men and Women from several states gathered outside the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Clinton, protesting the company's treatment of its employees.

"Everyone asks me if this is a union issue and this isn't a union issue, to us it is a human issue," said Teri Caben.

Teri Craben with the United Food and Commercial Workers joined up with the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights and the People's Freedom Caravan with members from several states including Texas and New Mexico.  The groups claim that Wal-Mart does not provide a livable wage for their employees.  They also say the health care package the company offers to their employees is just too expensive.

"The wages they make now they are not able to pay for their health care package for themselves let alone members of their families," said Latoya Davis with the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights.

State Represenative Erik Fleming joined in the fight.  He said when the Wal-Mart employees are not given health benefits, it's the taxpayers who end up paying.  "My main issue as a State Legislator is Wal-Mart is the biggest employer in the world and they don't provide health insurance. That means from a state standpoint, from a taxpayer standpoint, we have to pick up the slack from the medicaid program," said Rep. Fleming.

Craben says the United Food and Commercial Workers have been fighting for Wal-Mart employees for the last two years.  They said the protest won't end until every employee is treated fairly.

A spokesperson for Wal-Mart released this statement to WLBT:

"Wal-Mart creates thousands of jobs, offers competitive wages to our 1.3 million associates, reduces costs through $4 generic medicines and in-store clinics..."

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