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Some Walmart workers walk off job during Black Friday protests

CREATED Nov 23, 2012 - UPDATED: Nov 23, 2012

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  • Photo over Mayfair Mall from Chopper 4. | Photo: Caitlin Morrall

MILWAUKEE - Black Friday has begun and reached full swing in Milwaukee, but a few workers at America's biggest retailer have walked off the job.

Some workers at the 58th and Capitol location in Milwaukee and a Kenosha location walked off the job during Black Friday sales.  Protesters gathered there and at other locations in Milwaukee Friday morning.

One worker walked off in Milwaukee, while according to a Walmart spokesman, "According to what I know of, only 1 Walmart associate participated" at protests in Kenosha.

"We're here not to bash Walmart, but to make Walmart a better place to work," said Jerry Synowicz, a Walmart employee, on TODAY'S TMJ4's "Live at Daybreak."  

"We want a fair wage for a good days work.  We're not asking for a lot.  People start at barely over minimum wage, and only go up 30 to 40 cents per year."

He cited what protesters said were needs for both better pay and better health care coverage.

"It takes a long time to build up any kind of money.  We want affordable health care.  We don't want to have to decide if we want to feed the family or have health care for the family."

The Journal Sentinel's Don Walker also tweeted that about 50 to 60 protesters showed up at the East Capitol Drive location Friday morning.

Locations like the one at North 58th Street and West Capitol Drive opened for shoppers at 8:00 p.m. Thanksgiving night.

TODAY'S TMJ4's Nick Montes found a steady flow of shoppers overnight.

The Walmart spokesman claimed that "Walmart just had its best Black Friday events ever."

There had been word that Walmarts in the Milwaukee area were to see workers walk off the job.

Some already had walked off at a location in Kenosha Thursday night.  About 30 employees met there to protest.

They want Walmart to work with employees as a union.  They also had an issue with the store starting its Black Friday shopping early.

Workers claim the big-box retailer is mistreating employees, and it was time to take a stand before the holidays.

The group held signs asking the retail giant to "Respect workers."

The protest started when many shoppers were set to get door buster deals.

"I think a lot of (shoppers) are taking not (of our protests), especially the ones already done inside," said Mary Pat Tifft, a Walmart worker in Kenosha.