TODAY   |  November 21, 2012

Wal-Mart workers prep for Black Friday strike

Protests are planned at Wal-Mart stores around the country as thousands of retail employees push back against early Black Friday hours and low wages. NBC’s Mark Potter reports.

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>>> days away now, the most important day of the year for the nation's retailers and trouble may be brewing for one of the biggest ones of all, walmart . nbc's mark potter is live at a walmart store in doral, florida this morning. mark, good morning.

>> reporter: good morning to you, savannah. a thousand protests are scheduled around the country, and walmart is trying to stop them. it's no accident that most of them will be happening on the busiest shopping day of the year.

>> we are the workers!

>> we are the workers!

>> the mighty walmart workers.

>> reporter: a few of the protests have already begun.

>> we're fighting for our justice.

>> reporter: this one tuesday outside a walmart supercenter near los angeles . store workers and supporters are claiming what they call low wages, short hours and retaliation for complaining.

>> the wages they pay are very low. sometimes we have to rely on family help and work with relatives to help make ends meet.

>> they are very good with the prices, but the prices are coming out of our pockets.

>> reporter: some workers are upset about having to work on thanksgiving when walmart will begin its special sales at 8:00 p.m .

>> they say they care about their associates and want what's best for them because in reality that's not the case because if it was we wouldn't be working on thanksgiving.

>> shame on you!

>> reporter: walmart workers non-union plan to hold strikes and protests at 1,000 locations around the country on black friday, the day after thanksgiving. their goal, they argue, is not to shut down stores but to inform customers about how they are treated by their employers.

>> black friday is one of the most important days in retail. it's really the super bowl of all retail, and the walmart employees know this. that's why they chose black friday for the pinnacle of these protests.

>> reporter: in a statement walmart says o stores will be operating normally on black friday, and our customers will see nothing unusual when they shop. it went on to say in response to complaints, the fact is, our pay and benefits plans are as good or better than our retail competitors, including those that are unionized. to try to stop the protests, walmart has filed a complaint with the national labor relations board claiming a union that doesn't represent walmart workers is illegally involved in the picketing. now, a worker group has also filed a complaint against walmart alleging that walmart is being threatening. the labor board says this is a very complex issue and that it will be at least tomorrow before it decides whether to try to stop the protests. savannah?

>> mark potter in florida, thank