ELLSWORTH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- On this Black Friday, some people in Ellsworth weren't looking to shop, but make a statement about Wal-Mart. A group referring to itself as 'Occupy Ellsworth' staged protest outside of the Wal-Mart Super Center off of Myrick Street.
They were looking to air arguments about how the retailer treats its workers, which has been the focus of similar protests around the nation. Wal-Mart is one of the largest employers in Maine with more than 7,000 associates working.
Critics say despite profits for the company, many Wal-Mart workers are not making a liveable wage. They also claim healthcare premiums for employees are too high.
Officials with Wal-Mart deny both claims.
"Our wages and benefits typically meet or exceed those offered by a majority of our competitors," said Alexandra Serra, who is a regional spokesperson for Wal-Mart, "I can also tell you that we have medical plans available for all of our associates for as little as $15 biweekly. Wal-Mart actually insures more than one million people in the United States alone..so we're very proud of our jobs...we're very proud of the benefits we provide all of our associates."
"Wal-Mart is so profitable..we just think the people who work in their stores and supply chain...they need a fair shake," said John Curtis, who is a member of 'Occupy Ellsworth, "they need a fair cut of the profits that Wal-Mart is making."
Officials with Wal-Mart claim nationally their full time associates make an average of $12.52 per hour. Opponents counter that too few employees can get full time employment with the company and that the average hourly wage for all employees with Wal-Mart is $8.90 an hour.