Police dressed in riot gear arrested dozens of Walmart workers and their supporters who were peacefully protesting outside a Walmart store in Pico Rivera, Calif., last night.
The protest followed an earlier sit-in strike at another nearby Walmart. Pictures of those protesters with their mouths taped and holding signs were tweeted with the hashtag #Walmartstrikers.
Protesters were arrested in Pico Rivera for refusing to move after being ordered to do so by police.
“I have two sons, and it’s their future that I’m concerned about, mainly,” a Walmart employee named Denise told KTLA. “Walmart is setting the trend for all companies. If we don’t change it now, the future of our youth is in dire straights.”
The protesters want the multibillion-dollar company to pay all employees at least $15 per hour and give workers full-time hours, which would qualify them for health insurance.
In response to the protests, Kory Lundberg, director of media relations for Walmart, said in a statement, "Our workers have access to unparalleled advancement opportunities, cash bonuses, a 401(k) plan and many other benefits."
According to USA Today, Walmart claims to pay its employees an average of $11.83 per hour, far less than its big-box competitor Costco, which pays almost $21 an hour.
CNN reported last month that Walmart eliminated health insurance coverage for 30,000 part-time workers (under 30 hours a week). Those workers' health coverage will now be paid for by American taxpayers who will have to foot the bill via health insurance subsidies.
Sources: KTLA, USA Today, CNN / Image Credit: MikeMozartJeepersMedia