Update 12:46 p.m.: Officials say that a large group of protesters walked out into the street at the intersection of Lakewood Blvd. and Century Blvd. in front of the Walmart in Paramount and when they were told to disperse they did so. However nine protesters, who planned on being arrested, were arrested by sheriff's deputies.
Of those arrested, three are current Walmart employees, one is a former employee, one is a family member of an employee, and the rest are clergy members there to support the protest.
"Before noon today over 1,000 people were protesting at the Walmart in Paramount. They protested peacefully but at one point over 1,000 people went out into the street and began to block traffic," L.A. County Sheriffs Dept. Captain Mike Parker told NBCLA.
"So sheriffs deputies issued an order to disperse at about a quarter to noon and most of the people left right away - got out of the street so that traffic could return to normal. But nine people had pre-planned to be arrested. They were arrested peacefully. There was no use of force necessary. And essentially, this was about people exercising their First Amendment rights," Capt. Parker said adding that things are now back to normal.
Photo by The Consumerist via Flickr Creative Commons
Nearly 3,000 Rite Aid workers across California are set to begin voting Thursday on whether or not to authorize union leaders to call a strike if contract negotiations stay stalled.
Rick Icaza, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 770, addressed the nature of the possible strike in a statement: "We wish it hadn't come to this, but the unreasonable and unfair demands of management to eliminate healthcare, cut wages, and increase workload are unacceptable."
Rite Aid management are proposing to retire the company retiree health coverage program, and increase current employee deductibles, among other changes unwelcomed by the the workers, according to UFCW770. Employees could be facing out-of-pocket expenses up to $10,000 per year, they say.
Workers from Santa Maria to the O.C. border begin voting today. Statewide voting will wrap up by next week, says UFCW770.