"Please donate food items here, so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner," read signs affixed to tables placed in an employees-only area at the store on Atlantic Boulevard, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported.
A photo of the sign is featured on the website for Organization United for Respect at Walmart, or OUR Walmart, which was holding strikes Monday against the chain at stores in Dayton and Cincinnati.
The group also posted the photo on Facebook. "Like this if you think Walmart should pay us enough that we can afford to buy our own Thanksgiving dinners!" the post said.
A Walmart spokesman said the food drive shows employees care about each other.
"It is for associates who have had some hardships come up," Kory Lundberg told The Plain Dealer. "Maybe their spouse lost a job."
While the food drive in Canton was decided at the store level, Lundberg said it was considered to be in line with the company's culture to help associates when they face extreme hardships.
OUR Walmart has been staging strikes in California, Florida and Illinois calling for increased pay, more full-time positions and protections for employees who speak out against pay and working conditions, the newspaper said.
Erica Reed, an associate at the Canton store, said past food drives at the store have helped her deal with problems related to child support, not her salary. She told the newspaper that people shouldn't blame Walmart for the economic realities of today's U.S. labor force.
"You can't find a decent job anywhere," she said.
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