News From Terre Haute, Indiana


November 24, 2012

Walmart working conditions, pay, benefits draw Unitarian protest

TERRE HAUTE — Not everyone who entered Walmart on Friday was looking for a bargain.

Four representatives of Terre Haute’s First Unitarian Universalist Congregation went to the south-side Walmart on U.S. 41 with a letter calling on the retail giant to improve working conditions for its employees.

Delivered by Jennie Barrington, the congregation’s interim minister, Cathy McGuire, the social action committee chairperson and two other members, the letter stated the congregation’s concern with what it termed “poor working conditions, poor pay and lack of benefits for Walmart’s employees across the country.”

The letter, which was signed by 28 members of the Fruitridge Avenue congregation, stated they believe it is “immoral that Walmart…makes billions of dollars every year in profit on the backs of people who are not treated with dignity and respect. An adequate wage gives people respect and makes the local economy better. It probably cuts some crime as well.”

The four delivered the letter to a Walmart manager around 11 a.m. One employee with whom they spoke had worked on Thanksgiving until midnight and returned to work at 8 a.m. Friday morning, Barrington said.

“We have to speak up for them,” she said, in a telephone interview with the Tribune-Star later Friday. “As a Unitarian Universalist minister, I really do try to speak up for workers’ rights.”

The congregation’s action coincides with a larger number of similar steps by Unitarian Universalist congregations around the country. It also coincided with Black Friday, the biggest single shopping day of the year and a day on which protesters staged demonstrations at a number of Walmarts around the U.S.

The estimated number of Walmart employees taking part in Black Friday protests across the country varies according to the source. Nationwide efforts to organize the demonstrations were led by Organization United for Respect at Walmart, a union-backed, not-for-profit organization.

There were no reports of demonstrations Friday or late Thursday at Terre Haute Walmarts. One store employee said the east-side Walmart was packed with shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening, awaiting Black Friday sales slated to begin at 8 p.m.

Walmart joined a number of other big retailers, such as Target and Toys R Us, by offering shoppers “Black Friday” deals on Thanksgiving evening. Market observers note that online sales were expected to continue climbing this Christmas season, leading “brick and mortar” stores to try new ways of luring customers, including earlier hours.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday because it is the day on which many retailers turn profitable for the year.

Walmart employs approximately 1.4 million Americans. Defenders of the corporation say it increases living standards by offering lower-priced goods and provides employment opportunities for low-skilled workers that would otherwise not exist.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges New Tactic Deployed in Search for Plane Scott Brown Announces Run for U.S. Senate in N.H India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Police: Blast in Nigerian Capital Kills 71 Journalists Awarded Pulitzer for Snowden Reports
NDN Video
8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Toddler climbs into vending machine Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America Applicants Vying for 'World's Toughest Job' Get Heartwarming Surprise Awkward: Crist catches Lt. Gov. insulting him on camera NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse US Airways Tweets Graphic Photo of Nude Woman Behind the scenes of the Marathon anniversary photo shoot American Airlines Responds After Girl Tweets Alleged Terror Threat 'Joke' Charlie White's "Dancing" Mistake Olympic Great & Baltimore Native Michael Phelps Ends Retirement; Eyes Rio 2014 NFL Draft: Potential Booms And Busts William and Kate Squash Baby No. 2 Rumors With a Wine-Tasting Trip Who Showed Up at Coachella?

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010

Real Estate News