Hours after we reported on a labor strike at the ports, hundreds of protestors staged a march organized by OUR Walmart—a faction of the United Food and Commercial Workers union pushing for Wal-Mart employees to get $15 an hour wages, more full-time work opportunities, and various job protections—outside of the Wal-Mart in Pico Rivera last night. Twenty-three of them were arrested and given citations for blocking traffic at the intersection of Paramount and Washington boulevards.
The Pico Rivera demonstration was just one that took place Thursday against the company. In Baldwin Hills workers held a sit-in that was documented on Twitter with the hashtag #walmartstrikers. According to Reuters, OUR Walmart has announced plans for Black Friday demonstrations at 1,600 Wal-Mart stores across the country.
Asked to comment on the protests, Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg told us, “what we saw in Los Angeles this week is what we’ve seen before at this time of year—this union group will bring out supporters and other folks and a few associates to participate and make it appear as though this [dispute] is something bigger than it is,” adding, “we are a company of opportunity.”
While he suggested OUR Walmart’s projection of how many locations will see Black Friday protests is inflated, he did cite measures in place for the busy shopping day. “Each one of our stores has a very specific safety and security plan to help our customers get in and out safely and quickly,” he said. “There are a handful of places where [OUR Walmart] tends to show up. Those stores will be ready.”
Representatives from OUR Walmart could not be reached for comment.