Updated Nov. 29, 2013 10:53 a.m.
Original Nov. 29, 2013 5:43 a.m.

LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — Labor activists are expected to rally at three Washington area Walmart stores on Black Friday as the holiday shopping season officially begins.

Events in Alexandria and Laurel are three of hundreds of planned demonstrations and walkouts around the country aimed at getting the retailing giant to pay higher wages to employees.

In Alexandria, several protesters, including one store employee, were arrested outside the Walmart store on Richmond Highway about 45 minutes after the demonstration began Friday morning, NBC 4 reports.

It is unclear whether arrests were made at similar events at stores on Kingstowne Boulevard in Alexandria and Russett Green in Laurel.

Activists say most Walmart workers earn less than $25,000 a year.

The National Labor Relations Board said this week a preliminary investigation backed complaints that the retailer unlawfully threatened California and Texas employees if they engaged in strikes and protests ahead of Black Friday last year.

The NLRB believes Walmart also illegally threatened, disciplined or terminated more than 100 employees in 13 states for participating in protests over wages and working conditions.

Walmart says it disagreed with the labor board and planned to defend itself.

The retailer has also been a target for protests against holiday hours.

Walmart officials say the company has received good feedback from employees about working the holiday. The discounter says they get additional holiday pay and other perks for working on Thanksgiving.

(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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