An impending showdown in Los Angeles pits Walmart against community activists who decry expansion plans by the world’s largest retailer in the nation’s second-largest city.
At the heart of a protest set for June 30 in Los Angeles are charges of poverty wages, inadequate health care, hazardous working conditions and discriminatory labor practices at the company, which employs some 2.2 million people worldwide. Such concerns are accompanied by fears of mom-and-pop stores being put out of business. More than 100 L.A. residents and community leaders recently gathered in front of the proposed Walmart site in the city’s Chinatown section to promote the rally, which they say will be the largest of its kind against Walmart in the United States. Organized labor has asked elected officials in Los Angeles County to return Walmart money and reject future contributions. Katherine Spillar, executive vice president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, called the company’s track record “shameful,” adding in a prepared statement: “Until Walmart proves that it can operate as a responsible employer, we will vigorously oppose its expansion in Los Angeles and other parts of the country.”
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