ROKMININEWS ERROR: File not found: images/stories/Times/072414/072414n2.jpg
Move
Display 0 | 5 | 10 | 15 Stories

San Leandro Times

Topics
Top Story

City Council Opens Door for Big Brother

Officials want to keep an eye on you with ‘community cameras’ By Amy Sylvestri...

Councilwoman Souza Runs for Mayor

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times It may be July, but campaign season has...

Fire Damages SLz Apartments

PHOTO BY AMY SYLVESTRI A two-alarm fire damaged several apartments and required...

Deputy Shoots Man On East 14th

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times A county sheriff’s deputy shot and killed...

Truck Plows Into House of Liquors

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times A San Leandro woman was arrested for suspicion...

SLPD Report: 07-24-14

Obituaries • 07-24-14

The Night of the Iguana

Meet Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin

Community Calendar • 07-24-14

Letters • 07-24-14

947 Helen Avenue • San Leandro • $489,000 • Open Sunday 1-4 • 510-735-5223

Consequences of Age Discrimination

Grand Jury Keeps Eye On Public’s Interest

Two People Injured in Ashland Fire

Protesters Call for Better Pay at Walmart
Sunday, 02 December 2012 06:58
112912

PHOTO BY JIM KNOWLES

Pro-union demonstrators came to the Walmart on Davis Street last Friday to call for better pay and benefits for Walmart employees.

 

By Jim Knowles

San Leandro Times

 

 

Protesters hit the stores just as early as shoppers on Black Friday, including the Walmart on Davis Street.

A group of a dozen or more held signs in support of Walmart workers in front the store in the Westgate shopping center on the day after Thanksgiving, supporting better pay, medical insurance and unionization for Walmart employees.

The demonstrators, joining a nationwide protest of Walmart, said the main point is that Walmart is not only keeping their own employees’ wages low, the global company is lowering the wages for everyone.

“When General Motors was the nation’s biggest employer, they paid their employees what would be $50 an hour today. Now Walmart is the biggest employer and their workers make an average of $8.81 an hour,” said Ellen Brotsky.

“Basically, it’s depressing employee wages, that’s why we’re concerned. It affects everybody,” Brotsky said.

Fewer workers in the private sector today belong to a union than in the 1950s, so they don’t have the bargaining clout to get a bigger piece of the company’s profits, they said.

The demonstrators made similar points as those at protests across the country. Walmart made $16 billion profit last year. The Walton family exceeds the wealth of the bottom 40 percent of American families combined.

“Walmart made $16 billion in profit last year and their employees make $8 an hour and their employees are paid so low they depend on the public for their medical care,” said Lew Williams, a former teacher at Roosevelt School in San Leandro.

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, has said that most new jobs in America are in retail, and the average full-time retail worker makes $18,000 to $21,000 per year.

Reich quotes a study that says if the average retail worker’s salary was increased to $25,000 per year it would lift 700,000 out of poverty and cost customers just 1 percent more.

No Walmart workers had joined the protest at the Davis Street store on Friday. Protesters said that workers may be reluctant to talk to them in front of their store where their bosses and cameras are watching. But they just want workers to know that they have a right to unionize and the right to join the United Food & Commercial Workers union (UFCW).

The demonstration was part of a larger protest across the country, but Walmart said very few of their employees took part in it.

“We had our best Black Friday ever...and the large majority of protesters aren’t even Walmart workers,” said David Tovar, Walmart’s vice president, Corporate Communications in a written statement.

“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,” Tovar said.

Walmart said its Black Friday sale was better than last year and it was proud of its 1.3 million employees, which the company calls associates.

Walmart reported that less than 50 of its employees joined the protests nationwide.

 

 

 

Classifieds

Weekly specialty items listings, garage sales, and much more!

 

Current Ads

 

If you would like to place a Classified Ad, call Patrick at 510-614-1558.

Biz Spotlight

Tell us about your local business, events, and special offerings. Where you make the news!

 

Submission form

Real Estate

Get the latest in housing news and services delivered to you in full color PDF.

 

Browse this weeks gallery