MILPITAS, Calif. – Approximately 200 people were present at the Walmart here for the ‘Black Friday’ demonstration. Several Walmart workers spoke, as did speakers from SEIU, UFCW, NAACP, East Bay Organizing Committee, Central Labor Council, and a few local elected officials. They were part of the 226 organizations across the county, calling on Walmart to pay workers $15.00 an hour and have full time work schedules, a living wage.
“Walmart leads America in the race to the bottom,” a state assemblyman and union member said, adding “But when we fight, we win!”
The Central Labor Council president further added, “This is a union movement.”
Jose Martinez, a 27 year-old fast food worker at KFC was present with about a dozen of his union brothers and sisters from the East Bay Organizing Committee (EBOC). They wore red shirts that read, East Bay – Up The Pay!
When Jose was asked what brought him out today, he said, “I’m here to support Walmart strike workers because they supported us when we were fighting for $15 an hour pay and union recognition, it’s worker solidarity.” Asked how many union actions he had participated in, he said this was his 4th demonstration.
I asked him what it was like the first time he stepped out and spoke up for fair pay and treatment, to which he replied, “At first I was nervous, but when I saw that we were together, I knew we could beat the company. Since then I haven’t been shy.”
Asked what he would say to a worker inside the store looking at this demonstration, he answered, “Don’t be afraid, come out and fight for your rights, see all these people here. This gives me hope.”
Photo: Bill Black/PW