LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds of Walmart workers and community supporters Thursday were taking part in a nationwide protest calling for improved jobs and better wages.
Protestors began marching at 11:30 a.m. at Pershing Square on S. Olive and W. 6th streets.
Supporters and workers are demanding higher wages and better treatment by Walmart as part of a long-running campaign of unions and activist groups targeting the retail giant.
Martha Sellers, an employee at the Paramount Walmart for the past 10 years, told KNX1070 she will be taking part in the protest.
“An average Walmart worker makes $8.80 an hour – that’s not a livable wage,” she said. “I am a Walmart employee, I have been there 10 years, I can’t find another job. The economy is that bad, but I’m not paying my rent. I am behind on every bill because my paycheck is not big enough to pay my rent and my bills.”
A Walmart Vice President, David Tovar, told KNX1070’s Jon Baird the average hourly wage for workers is a lot higher.
“Our full-time hourly wage at Walmart across the country is $12.83 and in LA it’s just over $13 an hour,” Tovar said.
The protest proceeded through downtown to N. Broadway and W. Cesar E. Chavez avenues where a mass rally took place, officials said.
Organizers of the protest said 21 people — including seven current Walmart employees, two former Walmart workers and 12 members of the clergy, were arrested.