Jun 29 2012

Walmart Invades Los Angeles as Activists Rise Up

Dancing dragons and Chinese good luck offerings marked the start of construction of Wal-Mart’s Chinatown grocery store on Tuesday over the protests of many in the community. WalMart hosted a press conference inside the empty 33,000-square-foot space soon to be turned into a Walmart Chinatown grocery store on Cesar Chavez and Grand avenues. The store construction has drawn strong opposition from advocacy groups and labor unions that fear Wal-Mart’s presence will stifle local businesses and litter the community with low wage, part-time jobs with inadequate health benefits. For activists, the struggle to stop Wal-Mart Chinatown is an important step in fighting the Multinational’s recent targeting of Los Angeles for its next urban grocery market boom. The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), which has been fighting the opening of Wal-Mart Chinatown since its announcement earlier this year, found that Wal-Mart aims to grab 21 percent of the grocery market in LA. This would mean the opening of 212 new Wal-Mart stores in the area resulting in an estimated loss of 8,744 retail jobs, $621 million in annual lost wages and an increase of 9,400 employees using Medi-Cal.

A 2004 LA city ordinance putting restrictions on large chain stores has prevented Wal-Mart from establishing itself in Los Angeles up until recently, when Wal-Mart skirted the regulation by getting permits to build smaller stores under the 100,000 sq feet limit. Local activists appealed the decision to let Wal-Mart build in Chinatown, and have organized a massive protest and march on Saturday, June 30 at 1245 N. Spring Street. A coalition of organizations including The LA County Federation of Labor and the Koreatown Community, as well as local business will participate in the expected 10,000-person protest to make it the largest Anti-Wal-Mart protest in US history.

GUEST: Caroline O’ Connor, communications director with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor

Protest and march against WalMart, Saturday, June 30, beginning at the Los Angeles historic state park “cornfield,” 1245 N. Spring Street, starts at 10am.

Click here for details about the march.

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One Response to “Walmart Invades Los Angeles as Activists Rise Up”

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