Photos: 23 Arrested At Walmart In Protest Over Workers' Wages
Deputies arrested 23 people engaged in a protest over worker wages and labor conditions outside of a Pico Rivera Walmart Thursday evening.
Hundreds of protesters began marching outside of the Pico Rivera store around 5 p.m.. The strike was organized by OUR Walmart, a nonprofit group supported by the United Food & Commercial Workers union that says they're fighting for $15 an hour or more wages, more full-time positions for Walmart employees, and ending retaliation against workers who speak up against their work conditions, according to BuzzFeed.
The group says two-thirds of Walmart's retail employees make less than $25,000 a year.
OUR Walmart organized the protests in advance of Black Friday sales, with hopes of bringing to light that although Wal-Mart profits from the biggest shopping day of the year, protesters say the giant corporation isn't fairly sharing their huge earnings with their workers. Earlier that day, a sit-in at a different Walmart in Baldwin Hills also took place.
“They can afford to pay us better, to provide better health insurance,” Martha Sellers, a 56-year-old cashier at the Walmart in Paramount who participated in the Baldwin Hills protest, told BuzzFeed.
L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. deputies arrested 23 protesters outside the Pico Rivera Walmart around 6:30 p.m. after strikers sat in a circle blocking traffic at a busy intersection on the 8500 block of Washington Boulevard, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Sheriff's Dept. Lt. Alex Villanueva said that they told the protesters to disperse and gave them "ample opportunity to comply" before they took them into custody. They cited those protesters and then released them.
In Baldwin Hills, people were sitting inside Walmart in their silent protest, with their mouths taped shut and holding signs, KTLA reported
“I’m sitting down on strike today to protest Walmart’s illegal fear tactics and to send a message to management and the Waltons that they can’t continue to silence us and dismiss the growing calls for $15 an hour and full-time work that workers are raising across the country,” striker Kiana Howard said in an OUR Walmart news release.
Kory Lundberg, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart, defended her company and said in statement, “Our workers have access to unparalleled advancement opportunties, cash bonuses, a 401(k) plan and many other benefits."
OUR Walmart announced today that they are planning protests for 1,600 Walmart stores around the country on Black Friday, according to Reuters.