PARAMOUNT (CBSLA.com) — Sheriff’s deputies Friday reportedly arrested nine people for unlawful assembly near a Walmart in Paramount.
KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO Margret Carrero reports that the crowd moved their protest from the parking lot of the major retailer onto Lakewood Boulevard.
Aerial shots of the scene showed hundreds of other protesters descending upon the street, a majority of which, were not Walmart associates.
Art Barron, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, says about 19 people walked off the job in Paramount and about a dozen did the same in Duarte.
“I want my fellow associates to see what’s happening and to realize that they don’t need to feel fear. You have rights and you need to stand up for what you believe in,” said protester and Walmart employee William Fletcher.
The walkout was planned by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), which is not officially recognized by Walmart as its workers aren’t unionized.
Associates participating in the demonstrations say they are protesting unfair labor practices and want better pay.
Maria Jefferson said that, after five years working at Walmart, she’s earning $10.95 an hour. She said that getting a raise was, ironically, a curse.
“Every time I got a rise, my hours were cut,” Jefferson said.
Walmart spent the day defending their labor practices.
“Walmart’s pay and benefits plans are as good as or better than our retail competitors, including those that are unionized,” said Steven V. Restivo, Senior Director of Community Affairs.
Despite the nationwide walkout, KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO says the retailer is reporting its best-ever Black Friday.
“The number of protests being reported by the UFCW are grossly exaggerated. We are aware of a few dozen protests at our stores today. The number of associates that have missed their scheduled shift today is more than 60 percent less than Black Friday last year,” said David Tovar, Vice President, Corporate Communications, in a statement issued Friday.
“It was proven last night – and again today – that the OUR Walmart group doesn’t speak for the 1.3 million Walmart associates. We had our best Black Friday ever and OUR Walmart was unable to recruit more than a small number of associates to participate in these made for TV events. Press reports are now exposing what we have said all along – the large majority of protesters aren’t even Walmart workers,” the statement added.
Walmart employee Dan Hindman disputed those figures, accusing the retailer of spewing lies.
» Walmart Braces For ‘Black Friday’ Protests