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Walmart protestors gather outside City Hall

February 21, 2012

Opponents of a planned Walmart in Burbank drew upon the strength of unions Tuesday night to give the noisiest local protest yet to the mega-retailer.

More than 100 people, bolstered by the organized support of labor unions, swarmed outside Burbank City Hall before the City Council meeting, using a loudspeaker to sound off on the idea of a Walmart next to the Empire Center.

In a show of how the labor movement has latched on to the cause, about 30 members of Warehouse Workers United — which advocates for better working conditions in Inland Empire distribution centers — marched down Olive Avenue to the beat of a snare drum to join the protest.

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State regulators recently issued dozens of workplace violations to centers there after the workers protested and brought the issues to the fore.

Two residents who oppose a Burbank Walmart have already been backed by an attorney for the powerful United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 770.

One of them, Kate Nixa, addressed people outside City Hall, touching on a key argument of opponents: that Burbank officials have not done enough to ensure that city infrastructure around an already crowded Empire Center will be able to handle a Walmart.

“The traffic mitigations need to be done before Walmart moves into the Empire Center,” she said.


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-- Jason Wells and Mark Kellam, Times Community News

Twitter: @JasonBretWells, @LAMarkKellam

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