With more than two million employees—and $524 billion in revenue for the fiscal year ending January 31—Walmart is the largest employer in the United States. That makes Walmart heiress and shareholder Alice Walton the wealthiest woman in the world, with a reported net worth of $52.5 billion. Meanwhile, Walmart employees who work “full time,” make just $19,000 a year—putting them below the poverty line for a family of three.

In response, hundreds of Walmart employees gathered outside Walton’s New York City penthouse on February 18 to demand living wages and fair working hours. A United for Respect stream of the action lives here, and Colorlines talked to picketing Walmart workers about why they braved cold temperatures to demand what’s rightfully theirs.

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    Dashara, a Black woman with a baby strapped to chest, holds a red megaphone at the Walmart protest.
    Photograph: Tiye Rose

    "I'm here today to fight for working mothers like myself." —Dashara

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    Walmart protester holds a sign that shows a Walmart employee's living expenses deducted from their low weekly wage.
    Photograph: Tiye Rose

    Walmart protester holds a sign that shows a Walmart employee's living expenses deducted from their low monthly wage.

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    Latinx woman, Gabriella, holds up a red megaphone during the Walmart protest.
    Photograph: Tiye Rose

    "I've worked at Walmart for 10 years. I'm here fighting for rights and justice for all workers at Walmart, Toys R Us, Amazon, everyone." —Gabriella

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    Walmart protester holds up a black, white and green sign that reads "We Need Economic Stability!"
    Photograph: Aneta Molenda

    Walmart protester demands economic stability outside of Walmart shareholder Alice Walton's penthouse in New York City.

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    Black Walmart protester with a blue knitted cap and braids chants along with the crowd.
    Photograph: Tiye Rose

    Walmart protester joins the crowd in chanting and demanding fair living wages and working hours for Walmart employees.

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    Black person Janie dons a blue United For Respect knitted cap and a red cape at the Walmart protest.
    Photograph: Tiye Rose

    "I'm here today because we are fighting Wall Street billionaires—anyone who's making money and not paying their people properly." —Janie

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    Black Walmart protester holds up a fist while chanting.
    Photograph: Tiye Rose

    Walmart protester holds up a fist in solidarity with workers fighting for better pay.

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    Two protesters hold up a cutout head of Walmart fortune heiress Alice Walton in one hand and make fists with their other hands.
    Photograph: Tiye Rose

    "We're here because we're tired of minimum wage and we're tired of people not willing to pay us." —Maya (right)

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    Walmart protester speaks into a megaphone, leading the crowd in a chant.
    Photograph: Tiye Rose

    Walmart protester leads the crowd in a chant outside Walmart heiress Alice Walton's penthouse.

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    A group of protesters hold a light blue banner that reads "It's Time For Full Time Walmart."
    Photograph: Aneta Molenda

    A group of protesters demand full time hours and pay from Walmart.