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Walmart workers to stage protest in Federal Way

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Nov. 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
November 14, 2012 2:15 pm

Walmart workers say they’re planning a protest Thursday at a Federal Way Walmart — the first ever in the Puget Sound area — to make public their complaints about scheduling, safety, discrimination and other issues at the world’s largest retailer.

The Federal Way picketing is part of a nationwide effort by an employee group that calls itself OurWalmart to persuade the chain to make improvements to working conditions at its thousands of stores. The store where the protest is scheduled is located at 1900 S. 314th St.

The effort is backed in part by unions which have tried, but so far not succeeded in organizing Walmart workers.

The Federal Way action mirrors a one-day “strike” by workers at Walmart stores in 12 cities on Oct. 10.

Tom Geiger, communications director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, said workers both from the Federal Way and other Puget Sound-area stores are expected to take part in the protest. That protest begins at 10:30 a.m..

The national employee group has scheduled a conference call for Thursday morning to reveal its plans for further job actions on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year.

David Tovar, Walmart vice president of communications, told the Huffington Post last month that protesters’ claims were part of a political campaign aimed at the retail chain. “These strikes are an attempt by the unions to further their own political and financial agendas,” he said. The majority of Walmart’s 1.4 million workers are pleased with their jobs, Tovar said.

“More than half of Walmart’s one million hourly store associates have an hourly wage at least $10.00 or higher,” he said. “In fact, in many metropolitan areas in which we operate, our entry level start rates regularly exceeds that of new hires for comparable positions under the UFCW contracts.”

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