Fair wage, equal pay protests at Houston stores on Black Friday

HOUSTON - While most people were out shopping on this Black Friday, others were protesting against major retailers.

In Houston and across the country demonstrators called for the fair treatment of workers and equal pay for women. One of the organized protests targeted Walmart. The organization Jobs With Justice urged shoppers to stay away from Walmart.

"It's the working class struggle right now," said one demonstrator. "It's not really about the middle class; it's all of us workers together fighting for justice and we stand with them."

While Walmart has not commented on the demonstrations, its CEO Bill Simon, told CNN that Walmart pays "in the top half of retail." He added that the company has lots of opportunity for people to grow in management.

Another protest took place Friday morning across from the Houston Galleria. More than two dozen people chanted and held signs blasting Macy's for allegedly blocking legislation that would ensure equal pay for women.

"I think we get more attention on Black Friday because a lot of people are going to be out shopping and trying to find bargains and things and we want to let them know the people who are blocking them are the same places where they are spending their money," said State Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston).

Thompson points to a letter Macy's wrote to Governor Rick Perry successfully urging him to veto HB 950, the equal pay law.

According to Rep. Thompson, the law would have given legal standing to women who are paid less for doing the same job. 

"That was going to improve the ability of women to go to court to get equal pay for equal work because women only get about 77 cents on the dollar compared to men, still, after all these years," said Poppy Northcutt, the President of the Houston chapter of the National Organization for Women.

However, in a strongly worded statement sent to KPRC Local 2, Melissa Goff, a Macy's spokeswoman, said the company "absolutely supports equal pay for equal work among men and women."

Goff went on to write, "This has been a fundamental principle in our company for many years. Keep in mind that 73 percent of management level executives at Macy's, Inc. are women, and we have been widely recognized for our support of women at all levels of the organization and in the communities where we operate. We believe that existing federal and Texas state laws provide strong remedies for the resolution of any claims of discrimination."

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