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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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Lev Parnas’s attorney hilariously trolls Mitch McConnell in bid for witnesses during impeachment trial

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The attorney for Lev Parnas trolled Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Saturday in a bid for a "fair" impeachment trial.

Attorney Joseph Bondy posted to Twitter a video mashing together the audio of Trump meeting with Parnas and Igor Fruman along with the music from Rick Astley's 1987 song "Never Gonna Give You Up."

Posting the song as an online prank, known as rickrolling, dates back to at least 2007.

Included with the video was a message to McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Bondy urged the two to "vote with integrity and conscience."

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President Xi Jinping warns China’s coronavirus situation is ‘grave’ due to ‘accelerating spread’ of the virus

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President Xi Jinping warned Saturday that China faced a "grave situation" as authorities raced to contain a virus that has killed 41 people and caused a drastic scale-back of Lunar New Year celebrations.

The world's most populous country, which is scrambling to contain the disease that has infected nearly 1,300 people and overwhelmed health facilities, is building a second field hospital and closing more travel routes.

After more countries reported cases, Xi said at a Communist Party leadership meeting on the disease that China was "faced with the grave situation of an accelerating spread of the new coronavirus" but that the country will "definitely be able to win the battle," according to state media.

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‘NPR will not be intimidated’: Mike Pompeo blasted for attacks on reporter Mary Louise Kelly

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National Public Radio (NPR) is standing by "All Things Considered" host Mary Louise Kelly after she was attacked by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"One day after a contentious interview followed by an expletive-filled verbal lashing of NPR host Mary Louise Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is publicly accusing her of lying to him — 'twice,'" NPR reported. "He does not explain how and offers no evidence, but in their recorded interview the nation's top diplomat declined to respond when Kelly asked if he owed an apology to Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was ousted from that post last year after allies of President Trump accused her of disloyalty."

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