Walmart doesn’t have any stores in New York - but that didn’t stop the city’s top pols from taking aim at the retail giant Thursday.
Twenty-six workers and activists were arrested outside the Upper East Side home of Walmart heiress Alice Walton, after they refused to leave the street in front of her Park Ave. condo building in a day of coordinated protests against the retail giant.
Controller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James joined advocates to slam Walmart at a separate rally at City Hall, charging the chain is so influential it has driven down wages and benefits at other businesses.
“This is a city that respects union workers and….the dignity of all workers. And so we demand better conditions for Walmart workers, including full time hours, consistent schedules, and a living wage of $15 an hour,” said James.
In a report issued Thursday, Walmart Free NYC, a union-backed group that has fought the chain’s efforts to open in the city, charged that Walmart, the country’s largest private employer, had started practices like relying mostly on part time workers that spread to other retailers. “They’re the example that other people are following,” said organizer Maritiza Silva-Farrell.
Mayor de Blasio chimed in on Twitter, saying “New York City workers deserve higher wages and better treatment than @Walmart offers.”
“Walmart doesn’t have any locations in New York City. Perhaps that’s the reason why the workers this group is talking about don’t have access to career advancement or competitive wages or quarterly bonuses or their schedules three weeks in advance. If they worked at Walmart, they would,” said spokesman Kory Lundberg.
The company is not currently working on moving into New York, he said.
Walmart this week cut its sales forecast for the year and scaled back expansion plans for its stores.
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