Louisiana Walmart workers plan demonstrations at Governor’s Mansion, gubernatorial debate _lowres

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- Wal-Mart workers on a hunger strike protest Gov. Bobby Jindal's recent order to start requiring adult work a minimum number hours in order to receive food stamps. They gathered outside the Governor's Mansion on Monday.

Louisiana Walmart workers are holding two demonstrations in Baton Rouge today -- one at the Governor’s Mansion and the other outside a debate that will take place between the two men hoping to succeed Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The workers are part of a national movement, but in Louisiana they are specifically focused on the minimum wage (Louisiana has no state minimum) and the recent rollback of Louisiana’s food stamps program. A new state policy could kick 64,000 Louisiana residents off of it.

“At Walmart and retailers across Louisiana, cutting hours during non peak shopping seasons happens all the time throughout the year. We don’t know from week to week how we are going to pay our bills and now with Gov. Jindal’s new plan Walmart workers have to worry about putting food on the table too? This is outrageous and why I’ve decided to fast Monday,” said Janet Sparks, a customer service manager from the Baker Walmart, in a news release.

As part of the national effort, Walmart workers are pushing for higher pay and better benefits. The demonstrations coincide with events slated in the run-up to Black Friday.

The demonstration at the Governor’s Mansion was slated to begin at noon. At 5 p.m., protestors are expected to gather outside the Dunham School in Baton Rouge, which will host a gubernatorial debate between Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republican David Vitter at 6 p.m.

Vitter and Edwards face each other in Saturday’s runoff.

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