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Wal-Mart employees in Los Angeles rally against anti-union retaliation

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Wal-Mart employees from stores in the Los Angeles area on Thursday walked off their job to hold a rally outside the Pico Rivera Wal-Mart, accusing the retail chain of retaliating against workers who tried to form a union.

“I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m scared…” Pico Rivera Wal-Mart employee Evelin Cruz told Salon. “But I think the time has come, so they take notice that these associates are tired of all the issues in the stores, all the management retaliating against you.”

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OUR Walmart, a group supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, organized the rally to bring attention to what it claims is an intimidation campaign launched by Wal-Mart to eliminate union activity.

Five employees involved with the group have been fired in the past month. While Wal-Mart said the employees were fired for work-related troubles, OUR Walmart alleged they were terminated for seeking to form a union within the massive company, which employees nearly 1.6 million people.

In June, it was discovered a public relations specialist working on behalf of Wal-Mart posed as a journalist at a press conference held by Warehouse Workers United, which has organized protests against the working conditions at the company’s warehouses. A Wal-Mart spokesman said the company “would ensure this type of activity is not repeated.”

“We cannot stand by while the country’s largest employer tries to silence workers who stand up for a better future for their families,” Maria Elena Durazo, Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, said in a statement.

Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman said only “a few” Wal-Mart employees had walked off their job and that the action was too small to be considered a strike. All of the stores in the area remained open.

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Watch video of the rally, courtesy of OUR Walmart, below:

[Image courtesy of Aurelio Jose Barrera]

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Florida sheriff ordered his officers to not wear face masks — and then banned the safety gear

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A Florida sheriff ordered his officers to not wear face masks -- and banned the safety gear from his office -- even as the southern US state has hit record daily coronavirus death tolls.

Sheriff Billy Woods, of central Florida's Marion County, emailed deputies Tuesday to tell them of the new mask prohibition, according to local paper the Ocala Star Banner, citing the message.

"My order will stand as is when you are on-duty/working as my employee and representing my Office – masks will not be worn," the email read.

The sheriff allowed for certain exceptions, including for officers who work in prisons, schools, hospitals or with people suspected of being infected with the virus.

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Fast-moving brush fire north of Los Angeles has prompted mandatory evacuation orders for some 500 homes

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A fast-moving brush fire north of Los Angeles prompted mandatory evacuation orders for some 500 homes on Wednesday as firefighters battled the flames that had burned 10,000 acres by early evening, authorities said.

The Lake Fire erupted at around 3:30 pm (2230 GMT) near Lake Hughes, about a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles.

Rapidly-spreading flames had scorched some 10,000 acres (4,050 hectares) within a little more than three hours, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

"Multiple agencies are battling a brush fire near the Lake Hughes area in the Angeles National Forest," the department said in a tweet.

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‘Trump should know how to be in public with a woman who publicly humiliated him’: Trevor Noah jokes

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"The Daily Show's" Trevor Noah couldn't help but notice President Donald Trump's confusion during the Q&A of his daily coronavirus press briefing. Trump was asked about Vice President Joe Biden's pick as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate. In his attacks on Harris, Trump seemed to be spending more time defending Biden than he did attacking him.

Trump claimed the reason he was surprised Biden picked Harris is that she was "very very nasty to Joe Biden," he said she was "probably nastier even than Pocahontas," his nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). "She was very disrespectful to Joe Biden."

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