Shoppers threaded metal barricades outside the Walmart store on Hesperian Boulevard Thanksgiving night as disgruntled workers and union supporters staged one in a series of nationwide actions aimed at winning union recognition for Walmart workers.
The demonstrators numbered a few dozen at best.
Shoppers seem largely unaware of the protest and most interested in finding shopping carts to wheel into the store.
The picketers, many wearing lime green shirts, handed out leaflets describing OUR Walmart -- an informal organization formed by current workers who want to form a union.
OUR Walmart is backed by the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, which represents workers at grocery chains like Safeway.
As Walmart gets into the grocery business with a new smaller store, the UFCW is worried that its non-union workforce will undercut the unionized chains.
Hence the organizing effort.
Dominic Ware, who works at the Walmart on Hesperian Boulevard, is a local organizer of the OUR Walmart movement. He was working Thursday night, rounding up shopping carts for customers, but he stepped away from his duties to join the picket line outside the store.
The 25-year-old Oakland resident told Patch that the main issue workers have is with irregular hours and shift changes that make it difficult for them to plan their time or budgets. Ware, who took part in the national organizing meeting that planned the Black Friday actions, spoke with Patch on video (see the attached clip).
But most of those on the picket line were members of the UFCW. Among them was John Roe, a San Lorenzo native who now lives in Dublin and works for Safeway.
Roe said he is supporting the Walmart workers because the company pays them so little, they qualify for food stamps and other services at taxpayer expense. (See video of Roe above.)
This San Leandro store has emerged as one of the focal points of this nationwide battle between labor and management.
The store on Hesperian Boulevard is infamous as the site of a shooting on Black Friday 2011 that briefly put San Leandro in the national spotlight.
More recently it has experiened at least two small demonstrations by current workers, UFCW organizers and community supporters.
Read more Patch coverage of the Walmart union struggle in San Leandro.