Walmart Protest Rally Draws Thousands
Posted on July 11, 2012 by jway
As Walmart reached its 50th anniversary last week, critics of the company’s practices demonstrated that they are stronger than ever. The largest anti-Walmart protest in US history was held in Los Angeles and was just one of many events that took place nationwide on June 29 and 30.
The LA March Against Low Wage Jobs, which drew thousands of supporters interested in promoting a more responsible Walmart, featured musical performances by Ben Harper, Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine) and No Age. Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, US Representative Judy Chu (D-El Monte) and rocker Steve Earle also supported the rally. The marchers protested the construction of a new Walmart grocery store in LA’s historic Chinatown neighborhood, arguing that the store’s poverty wages would undercut the viability of local small businesses and hurt the community.
The Chinatown site has been a matter of public dispute for some time. The Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and UFCW Local 770 jointly filed a suit last week against the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, alleging that the Department “failed to notify the public of its decision to exempt the Walmart project from an environmental review.” The lawsuit seeks to halt construction of the store, which is already underway.
In reference to the allegations, APALA’s Jan Tokumaru said, “it appears Walmart received a special exemption from the city releasing it from the requirements many other smaller businesses must comply with.” Curiously, one day after Walmart was issued the necessary permits to begin construction on the store, a city ordinance banning retail chain stores in Chinatown received unanimous city council support.
This blog post was written by Rebecca Cassler.