Clovis Walmart protesters push for workers' rights

Friday, November 29, 2013

A protest in Clovis was part of a nationwide effort to pressure Walmart to improve pay and working conditions for their employees. Organizers in the Central Valley included members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and other Valley activists.

"We are fighting for workers' rights. Right now Walmart is cutting workers hours they don't want to pay benefits to employees so we are speaking out," Fresno Civic activist Georgette Carillo said.

Carillo explained why none of the protestors were Walmart employees.

"Walmart is retaliating against the workers that are speaking out. So a lot of them are afraid to step forward," Carillo said.

Some shoppers like Barbara Brandon supported the protest.

"Actually I don't normally shop here because of the way they treat their employees but I just came in to check it out. Didn't buy anything," Brandon said.

Maria Padilla had a family member that used to work at Walmart.

"They was paying only minimum wage for a long time, so I think it's right, yeah it's fair. They are right sometimes they work so hard," Padilla said.

But some like Kayla Rodriguez of Reedley had no sympathy.

"I think it's kind of dumb, I don't understand them wanting more than minimum wage," Rodriguez said.

Organizer Mike Jennings pushed the message that too many Walmart workers are on welfare.

"Your tax dollars are going to subsidize the employees, you don't realize it. Food stamps, cash aid, Section 8 everything," Jennings said.

Walmart CEO Bill Simon appeared on national television Friday and defended his companies wage and benefits to employees, saying they are above the nationwide retail median.

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walmart, protest, clovis, local, gene haagenson
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