DENVER (CBS4) – Protesters called for $15 an hour wages at Walmarts across the nation on Friday, including in Lakewood, but the retailer countered those rallies with employees’ warnings that wage hikes would hurt customers.
Several dozen protesters along Wadsworth Boulevard and Colfax Avenue said the company makes billions but doesn’t pay its workers a fair wage and prevents them from making ends meet. Many carried signs that read “Stand with #WalmartStrikers,” “15/HR + Full Time” and “Striking to end Walmart Bullying.”READ MORE: Colorado Water Suppliers Seeing 'Traditional Patterns' Change Each Year
Most marching in the rally don’t work at Walmart. But employee LaShonda Myrick joined the protests. She said she makes $10.70 as a full-time stock clerk.
“No employee should have to be receiving any type of assistance from the government as far as food stamps when we’re working for a big corporation as Walmart,” she said.
Community activists stood in for employees who had to work.
“We’ve got folks living in poverty making less than $25,000 a year working inside that store and those are poverty wages,” Felicia Griffin said.
But not all Walmart employees support a $15 wage.
Deli employee Bruce Jameson said a wage hike would hurt his customers.READ MORE: 'This Is Offering Them Shelter For The Night': City Of Northglenn Converts Old Rec Center Into Winter Housing For Homeless
“All you’re going to do is raise the prices. You’re just going to increase inflation, so you bump the wages up, it bumps the prices up and then they’re going to say, ‘Well, now I’m right back where I started, so now we’re going to ask for $20 an hour,’ ” Jameson said.
Myrick also accused Walmart of limiting hours.
“Unfortunately, the ones that work in the days, they don’t get 40 hours,” she said.
But Jameson said employees should look for new opportunities within the company.
“There’s plenty of room, places to be promoted within Walmart where you can get paid a lot more,” he said.
Some of her co-workers were afraid to join the protest, Myrick said.MORE NEWS: VIDEO: Colorado Bobcat Hunts For Next Meal
“We all knew what we were going into when we signed up for this particular job. We just didn’t know we weren’t going to be taken care of, like we should,” she said.