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Florida workers and activists unite against Walmart

By Cassia Laham

Black Friday protest at Walmart.

North Miami Beach, FL – Around 45 people stood outside of the Walmart here with signs and banners on Black Friday to protest the company's unfair treatment of its workers. OUR Walmart and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) organized this event as part of a nation-wide call to action against the egregious working conditions faced by Walmart employees.

Workers from Walmart throughout the area were joined by family members, community organizers and activists. They demanded living wages, benefits, vacation time and respect from the company that currently offers none of that to its workers.

Most of the workers in attendance were immigrants from Haiti and Central America, and they most addressed the crowd with pride and anger in Spanish and Creole.

“I'm standing here as part of the fight by Walmart associates,” said Walmart worker Theresa Charles in her native Haitian Creole. “Walmart does not give us good pay, it does not give us any rights and it does not give us any justice!”

The message was one of international solidarity among workers, as those in attendance spoke also about the garment workers in Haiti and Bangladesh who work for Walmart and other major companies and who are in the process of striking for better conditions as well.

“Walmart, Walmart you're no good, treat your workers like you should,” the crowd shouted in unison, along with, “From Haiti to Miami, raise the wage!”

Drivers, pedestrians and members of the community honked and waved in solidarity and many even joined the crowd. They were drawn in after hearing the words of the workers themselves through the megaphones.

“The only real way to topple this company is from the inside! The only way to bring change to this company is from the inside!” said UFCW organizer Shannan Reace to the crowd. “So I am very happy to stand with workers here and throughout the world and put the money behind the people and not behind the rich Waltons!”

Members of the People's Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR), Rapid Response Network, South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice and other progressive organizations were present as well and addressed the crowd.

“Every worker deserves a living wage, benefits and dignity,” said Kim Miller of POWIR. “And the billions that Walmart has made has not trickled down to the worker, and that has to change because without the workers there is no Walmart!”

Haitian workers at Walmart protest.

#NorthMiamiBeachFL #UnitedFoodAndCommercialWorkers #LivingWage #workersRights #WalmartStrike #OURWalmart