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Somerville group to take aim at Walmart's Assembly Square plans

Posted by Matt Byrne  November 16, 2011 10:04 AM

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A new community group in Somerville focused on the potential development of a Walmart grocery store at Assembly Square will convene its first community meeting tonight.

The Somerville Coalition for a Responsible Walmart will meet at 6 p.m. at the Somerville City Club, located at 20 Innerbelt Road.

“Our broad coalition is pleased to organize this forum to discuss our concerns about the impact of a Walmart in Somerville," said Joe Grafton, executive director of Somerville Local First, which is helping organize the meeting. 

"The speakers will communicate our shared concerns about this development related to the local economy, the environment, and the quality of jobs in Somerville and more and we look forward to an engaging dialogue with our community.”

Guests include a former Walmart employee who will speak about working for the retail conglomerate.

"What I experienced working at Walmart is similar to that of associates at all stores nationally and Somerville won’t be any different,” said Kim Quartimon in a statement.

The meeting is the first in a series that will give residents a chance to voice opinion about the chain, which in other communities has a reputation for squeezing out smaller retailers and offering low-paying jobs.

Groups supporting the initiative include Brazilian Women’s Group, CORES, First Church Somerville, Groundwork Somerville, Massachusetts Interfaith Worker Justice, Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, New England Jewish Labor Council, Somerville Climate Action, Somerville Community Corporation, Somerville Local First, UCC, and UFCW Local 1445.

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