Local Walmart Workers Stage Black Friday Walkout [UPDATED]
Several employees of Los Angeles-area Walmart stores are taking part in a walkout today as part of a nationwide union-organized protest.
The employees say they are walking off the job in order to "move a step closer to ending retaliation and improving their jobs," according to City News Service.
Walmart notoriously does not recognize unions, and is unwilling to allow their workers to unionize. Today's protest was put together by a group called Making Change at Walmart, which has been organized by the United Food & Commercial Workers union.
Duarte Walmart employee Ricahrd Reynoso walked off the job at 5:30 a.m. today. He told CBS2:
"I did it because I support our Walmart and I don’t like the way they treat their associates here. And I believe with our help, we could be able to change that."
Walmart says they don't expect more than "a handful of associates" to walk off the job in what they're calling a UFCW "publicity stunt."
While some workers say they are not paid well and are scheduled for too few hours to get access to benefits, Steven V. Restivo, Senior Director of Community Affairs says “Walmart’s pay and benefits plans are as good as or better than our retail competitors, including those that are unionized."
Restivo adds that he does not believe today's walkouts will affect the company's Black Friday sales.
UPDATE 12:07 PM: The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is taking protesters into custody at the Paramount location of Walmart. There, the protest group is comprised of Walmart employees, union members, and "allies," according to a live news broadcast on NBC4.
2:40 PM: A total of nine protesters were arrested at the Paramount Walmart today. City News Service reports that a video photographer on scene elaborated that the protesters were blocking traffic in both directions on Lakewood Boulevard when they were arrested peacefully. Supporters were seen chanting and throwing flowers into the street. Those arrested are thought to be protesters who had pre-arranged to take part in the civil disobedience that would likely lead to arrest.
Saturday: We found a video of yesterday's protest in front of the Walmart in Paramount:
And here's a picket line at a Walmart in Duarte: