Walmart = Poverty: Huge March in LA

Los Angeles Federation of Labor

Photo by Neil Jacobs, IATSE Local 600

In the largest-ever protest against Walmart in U.S. history, thousands in Los Angeles demanded the world’s largest private employer start respecting its workers and communities or stay out of L.A. Union workers from across the L.A. labor movement marched alongside Walmart and warehouse workers, Chinatown residents, community and civil rights groups, faith leaders, and our sisters and brothers from the San Diego, Orange, South Bay and San Francisco labor councils who came on buses to stand up to Walmart and stop the “Walmartization” of L.A. jobs.

The Teamsters trucks and Horsemen motorcycle club kicked-off the march from the Los Angeles State Historic Park through the streets of Chinatown. Carrying a massive banner that read: “Walmart = Poverty,” Walmart workers and Chinatown residents led the march of thousands holding signs: “Walmart: How the 1% Hurts the 99%.”

Under the iconic Chinese dragons in Chinatown, L.A. Labor’s Maria Elena Durazo opened the rally. “Walmart’s chief product is poverty.  Walmart gets rich by keeping its employees poor; however, Walmart workers are organizing for decent wages and affordable benefits. They have the right to dignity and respect and Walmart can afford to do better.  Until Walmart stops selling poverty, we don’t want it in Los Angeles,” said Durazo.

Walmart and warehouse workers filled the stage. “I work hard at Walmart’s Crenshaw store, but even with a promotion, I still have to rely on public healthcare for my kids,” said Girshriela Green, a Walmart associate and member of OUR Walmart, a growing organization of Walmart associates nationwide. “Working hard should mean getting ahead – but it doesn’t at Walmart.  If we don’t put an end to the Walmart model of making a few people rich and keeping the rest of us struggling, we are going to live in a country with no middle class at all.  For my kids and for my community, I’m speaking out for change at Walmart.”

Grammy winners, singer-songwriters and members of Professional Musicians Local 47 Tom Morello and Ben Harper gave energizing live performances. Speakers included co-founder of the United Farm Workers and 2012 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom Dolores Huerta, U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, United Food and Commercial Workers President Joe Hansen, UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm and more!

To read the full story, click here.

To see the photos on Facebook, click here.

L.A. Labor in the News

Los Angeles unions try a new tack in Walmart battle, Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2012

Rockers rally against low wages and new Walmart store in Los Angeles, Rolling Stone, June 30, 2012

Tom Morello of ‘Rage’ leads L.A. Walmart protest, New York Times, June 30, 2012

Thousands rally against Walmart in Chinatown, Los Angeles Times, July 1, 2012

PHOTOS: In LA Walmart protest, thousands of Angelenos march on Chinatown in anti-Walmart action, Huffington Post, June 30, 2012

VIDEO: Anti-Walmart marchers say store with “gut” Chinatown, KNBC-4, June 30, 2012

VIDEO: Thousands protest construction of Chinatown Walmart, KTLA-5, June 30, 2012

Walmart, organized labor’s battle of wills rages on, Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2012

Los Angeles Chinatown rages against Walmart’s new ‘neighborhood strategy,’ The Nation, June 30, 2012

Massive anti-Walmart march and rally planned today at Chinatown site, Los Angeles Daily News, June 30, 2012

GALLERY: Workers and rockers turn out to protest plans for a Walmart in Chinatown, the LAist, July 1, 2012

Walmart workers march in L.A. saying no thanks to new stores, Labor Notes, July 2, 2012

Filipinos protest vs. Walmart in Los Angeles, ABS-CBN, July 3, 2012

Walmart’s ‘robbing from the poor to give to the ultra rich,’ says musician Tom Morello, Blogdowntown, KPCC, June 29, 2012

Steve Earle urges Walmart protestors to ‘stick together,’ USA Today, June 27, 2012

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