November 25, 2012

Walmart Sunday update

Guardian, UK - The biggest protest seemed to be in Paramount, California, where more than 1,500 people gathered in the streets to chant protest songs in opposition to what they say are low wages that keep Walmart workers in poverty. Organisers have also complained of retaliation by the company against people who speak out.

...Protests were staged all over the country and attracted some high-profile supporters. In Florida, congressman Alan Grayson joined a picket line, as did congressman George Miller in California. Demonstrations hit Walmart outlets in major cities across America.

In recent months the company has also been hit by strikes and protests in its US-based supply chain in Southern California and Illinois, where much work is outsourced to third parties which are accused of paying low wages and operating in unsafe conditions.

Despite the unrest, Walmart said it had experienced its best Black Friday ever and that the majority of protesters were not Walmart workers. Certainly the protests did not disrupt trade at the nation's Walmart stores when they controversially opened late on the Thanksgiving holiday itself, or in the early hours of Friday morning. There were the usual scenes of long lines, crowded checkouts and shoving and pushing as shoppers battled to snap up bargain buys.

...Protesters vowed to keep the protests going into the holiday season. Dan Schlademan, director at lobby group Making Change at Walmart, said: "This has been an amazing moment but we are just at the starting point of what we are doing."

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