Twin Cities Wal-Mart employees to walk off the job, protest in St. Paul

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Wal-Mart employees in the Twin Cities plan to walk off the job on the busiest shopping day of the year to protest low wages, inadequate healthcare benefits and unfair working conditions.

KARE 11 reports Minnesota will join more than 1,000 protests planned across the country as part of national campaign created by a group called OUR Wal-Mart, a union-backed organization.

In St. Paul, a demonstration is planned at the Midway Wal-Mart on University Ave. at 11 a.m.

An Apple Valley Wal-Mart employee, 30-year-old Gabe Teneyuque, tells KARE 11 he currently earns $9.00 per hour as a part-time employee and has been holding out for a full time position with affordable health care:

United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), local 1189, says workers feel they are not getting enough hours because of under-staffing and take-home pay in not what it should, KSTP notes. The St. Cloud Times says retail cleaning workers will also join the protest in St. Paul.

A Wal-Mart spokesman says the big-box retailer is prepared for Friday and employees participating in the walkout are a small percentage of its 1.3 million workforce.

The company filed a complaint with a federal agency accusing the UFCW of unlawfully organizing the demonstration by forcing Walmart into collective bargaining even though it's not a the official union for its employees.

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