PICO RIVERA, Calif. (KTLA) — Walmart workers upset over having to go to work on Thanksgiving night are taking their message to the streets.
Workers at the Pico Rivera store planned to strike starting around 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
The walk-out is part of a wave of strikes protesting what workers call low wages and short staffing in stores.
The protest is also meant to send a message about early Black Friday sales.
Walmart is letting shoppers excited about Black Friday deals find them earlier by opening up the doors Thanksgiving night at 8 p.m.
Outside the Walmart in Eastvale last Thursday, employees angry in part over the holiday work plan hit the pavement to vent their frustrations.
In a separate protest near a Mira Loma Walmart warehouse, Riverside County deputies arrested six people for blocking traffic.
“They put me in a tough kind of corner,” Chris Hinojos, who works at a Walmart in Duarte, told KTLA.
He’s one of the thousands of employees who’ve been told that they’ll have to have to end their Thanksgiving holiday early to go to work.
“I don’t want to work on Thanksgiving. I want to be with my family and girlfriend,” he said.
Walmart issued a statement saying, “This is just another exaggerated publicity campaign aimed at generating headlines to mislead our customers and associates.”
But many customers who stopped to talk to KTLA weren’t so convinced.
“I mean, it’s just cutting into your family time and your folks time and your friends time,” customer Carlos Silos said.
He said he thinks that both the retailer and shoppers should think twice about moving up Black Friday into what’s now being called “Gray Thursday.”
Others said that workers should have known what they were signing up for.
“If you come into a workplace knowing that’s an agreement you might have to make, then that’s your choice to have that job,” said shopper Rae Luce.
Another customer said that, when she stays home with her family on Thanksgiving, she hopes that her actions speak loudly.
“It’s kind of funny becasue the companies can do whatever, and if nobody shows up, you think they’re going to do it? No!”
The early opening times have sparked fierce debate online, including multiple petitions on Change.org to stop it.
Similar petitions were popular last year as well, but they didn’t deter retailers from opening their doors early.