Unhappy Wal-Mart workers plan Black Friday rally in Paramount
Striking Wal-Mart workers unhappy with the early start to Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day and other working conditions plan to protest Friday outside the Paramount store and other Southern California locations.
The 10:30 a.m. rally at the outlet at 14501 Lakewood Blvd. in southeast Los Angeles County is expected to attract religious leaders, civil rights organizations and union members, in addition to Wal-Mart workers who have walked off their jobs in protest of the chain's policies, organizers said.
The protest was being planned by a group called Making Change at Wal-Mart, which contends workers have walked out of Wal-Mart stores and warehouses in Southern California, San Leandro, Seattle and Dallas.
Leaders of the coalition said Wal-Mart workers from Chicago, Miami, Milwaukee, Washington D.C., Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana and Minnesota are also planning Black Friday protests.
Wal-Mart officials downplayed the Black Friday protests, asserting in a statement Friday morning that nearly 10 million register transactions occurred at stores between 8 p.m. and midnight Thursday. The chain's Black Friday sales began two hours earlier than the 10 p.m. start last year.
Wal-Mart President Bill Simon said only 26 protests occurred overnight.
"Many did not involve Wal-Mart associates," he said in a statement released by the company.