Saturday, November 19, 2011

Occupy Atlanta mic checks Home Depot for union busting

An Atlanta Home Depot got occupied on Thursday, the International Day of Action, by 75 protesters including Teamsters from Local 728, Jobs with Justice and Occupy Atlanta. They came to protest Home Depot for attacking workers' rights. "We stand with the rights of workers, not their millionaire bosses," they shouted in unison.

Home Depot contracts with Republic Waste, a Teamsters employer that's trying to cut workers' health benefits.

Three television cameras waited outside just before the scheduled mic check. Though the police knew the Occupiers were coming, there wasn't much they could do as they arrived at Home Depot separately. Protesters placed fliers that said "Home Depot, Stop the Hate," among the products. They then converged to "mic check" the store. (Here's the Daily Dot with an explainer of "mic check":
Now the phrase has become a battle cry for Occupy Wall Street protesters to launch coordinated protests that interrupt speakers.
In the mic-check process, one speaker stands up and starts chanting "mic check." He or she then leads a crowd in a call-and-response fashion. It’s being used all around the country to interrupt speeches from politicians.
The script was written by Occupy Atlanta. Here's part of it:
Home Depot has a long history of suppressing the rights of workers. From all-out union-busting to corporate agenda indoctrination. The corporation attempts to brainwash its employees with a "training" video falsely depicting union organizations as invasive and destructive of workers' rights.
"Our business is based on our values," says the propaganda video. But it is Home Depot who has shown its harmful stripes by bonding with the union-breaking Republic Waste Corporation.

"At Home Depot our associates already have a voice," they say. Yet Home Depot has opposed employee free choice legislation through million-dollar lobbying efforts each year...

They believe in the rights of their corporate bosses. WE SAY it is the workers who deserve those rights.




As you can see from the video, the protesters unfurled a banner that said "Home Depot, Stop the Hate, Respect Civil Rights," and marched out of the store -- across the mall to a Verizon store, where they set up a picket in solidarity with CWA workers.

The Occupy Atlanta woman leading the mic check was taken out of the store. Then Ben Speight, organizer with Local 728, took over. He was pulled out of the store. Said Ben,
It was Occupy Atlanta's first action hitting a corporate target. They've hit banks, but they hadn't hit a corporate target for labor abuses. It was the first one we did to show how workers' organizations and unions are at the center of the most vital interests of the 99 percent.

You can replicate it anywhere. The acoustics are great.