Union organizers said employees were set to walk picket lines through out the day in Tampa, Miami, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
At a Dayton, Ohio store, Wal-Mart worker Cynthia Brown-Elliott said from her cell phone that she had joined a protest outside the store, chanting slogans such as: "Respect! Now!"
Brown-Elliott, 48, who works at a Cincinnati Wal-Mart, said 25 workers were in the picketing line. The grandmother of 14 said she would travel with the group to a later protest in Cincinnati, where she a larger crowd was expected to gather.
A cake decorator in the Wal-Mart bakery, Brown-Elliott makes $8.95 an hour. She has been with Wal-Mart for two years and believes she's overworked and underpaid.
"Save money and live better?," she said, citing the company's advertising line. "How can you save money if you're not making enough money? How can you you live better if you're not paid enough?".