By Whitney Clark/KTVL.com
MEDFORD, Ore. – While
holding up a big yellow face with a frown drawn on, Wes Brain says that is how
Walmart makes him feel.
“They are not helping us
at all,” he said. “They are an attack on our community.”
On Wednesday night Brain
was one of a few dozen protestors rallying outside of the new Walmart in south
The rally was organized by
Jobs for Justice, a local organization that works to improve working conditions
for labor unions and other workers.
Brain says the group thinks
Walmart will only hurt the local economy. Members believe the new store will
take customers and jobs away from local stores.
Also, Brain says the
company doesn’t treat its employees fairly, which eventually drains local
“Walmart brings down all
the prices for the wages that you get paid, that I get paid,” Brain said. “It
displaces local businesses. That's not good for our local economy.”
However, Walmart employees
say once the north Medford location reopens, they will have hired around 300
Local economists say it’s
not the only business that’s hiring. The Bureau of Labor Statistics say 720
retail jobs were added in Jackson and Josephine counties in the last year.
While unemployment rates
are still high, Guy Tauer with Worksource Oregon says now there’s hope.
“The economy has improved
a little bit,” Tauer said. “We're coming out of a recession. Compared to a year
ago consumer spending is still up. That's driving growth in retail trade.”
With the help of the
Northgate Marketplace, Tauer predict the Rogue Valley should see even more jobs
“The fact that those spaces
have filled so quickly, and that the next phase is being planned -- I think
that bodes well for the region’s economy in terms of seeing future growth,”