Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Community members came together on Friday in front of Johnson City's Walmart, as one of 1,500 Walmart protests across the country. They said Walmart employees are not being paid livable wages.
Nearly 20 protesters rang bells, waved signs, and urged passers by to honk their car horns in support. Keeping with the holiday spirit, one man protested in a Santa Claus outfit.
The protesters stood across the street from Walmart, hoping to make people think twice before driving into the supercenter's parking lot.
Protesters said poor wages affect both employees and the community. They said taxpayers have to pick up the tab for Walmart's poverty pay policies.
"Walmart can afford to pay a decent wage to it's workers and that is what we need in this country," said Bonnie Wilson of CNY's Area Labor Federation.
Wilson said paying retail workers just $25,000 a year would bring more than 700,000 people out of poverty.
"There's so many other people that are not fortunate enough to have that and they are entitled to it," protester Walter Denton said. "People need to live."
Bonnie Wilson said this is the second year in a row she's organized a Walmart protest in Johnson City. She said she'll keep the tradition alive as long as Walmart employees are treated unfairly.
"They have to apply for food stamps and medicaid just to be able to put food on the table, or take their kids to the doctor if they're sick," Wilson said.
Members of Broome-Tioga Federation of Labor and Central New York's Labor Federation were among the supporters who came out Friday.