Friday, September 6, 2013

100 arrested protesting Walmart nationwide

Isn't that a little much?
One hundred Walmart strikers and their supporters in 11 cities were arrested yesterday in a wave of nationwide protests against the company, according to OUR Walmart, which organized the demonstrations.

Teamsters and other union members came out to rallies in 15 cities to demand Walmart pay its full-time workers at least $25,000 a year and to obey the law. The company illegally disciplined 80 workers, firing 20, because they exercised their legal right to walk off the job to demand an end to retaliation for trying to form a union. More than 100 unfair labor practice charges have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

Despite the news media's general indifference to the story, we tracked down most of the arrests, all of them for things like blocking entrances, sitting on the sidewalk or holding up traffic.

Three protesters in New York City were the first to be arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience. One former and two current Walmart employees planned to deliver a petition with 200,000 signatures to Walmart board member Christopher Williams. Williams' assistant said he wasn't in, and he refused media requests to comment, according to Bloomberg News.

At the Teamsters Local 391 hall in Raleigh, N.C., a forum on labor was held and then participants marched through a nearby Walmart. According to N.C. State University Technician,
Armed with a petition of more than 171,000 signatures, several protesters entered the Glenwood Avenue Walmart with no intention of shopping Thursday afternoon.
Next came the Seattle area, where 11 people with more courage than Christopher Williams were arrested by police. According to The Renton Reporter:
Among those arrested were current Walmart employees who got on stage earlier in the protest, wearing sandwich boards identifying their stores. Husband and wife, Walmart workers, Edie and Larry Slowey, of Port Angeles; Betty Shove and Deborah Williams, both Mount Vernon store staff; Gerry Paladan, recently fired from Federal Way Walmart and Patricia Locks, Federal Way store staff were among those arrested by police at the protest.
Their arrests followed a rally against cheap goods and corporate greed by Teamsters, community members, church representatives and singing grannies.

Then came Los Angeles, where 21 people, including nine Walmart employees, were arrested, according to the Huffington Post. Seven hundred Walmart strikers and supporters rallied outside of the company's Los Angeles headquarters, demanding Walmart pay them enough to support their families. Los Angeles police said the arrests were for "suspicion of failure to disperse."

In Sacramento, nine Walmart workers and supporters were arrested. CBS 13 reported:
As police arrested the protesters outside Cesar Chavez Plaza for civil disobedience, others yelled out “Hero.”
A Walmart flack told the news media that the protesters weren't Walmart employees. Surprise! That was a lie.

San Francisco protesters took arrests after a rally outside the Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco, where Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO and Walmart board member, has a penthouse apartment, according to The Guardian. You can see at least four people getting arrested for sitting on the sidewalk here, but another photo indicates there were eight. The San Francisco news media didn't think multiple arrests in a nationwide protest against the country's largest employer was worth mentioning (though the Chronicle did pick up an AP story about the Sacramento arrests. Nice going.).

Seven were arrested in Orlando for blocking an entrance to a Walmart, according to the Orlando Business Journal.

In Chicago, a brief video shows eight people -- including a woman who uses a wheelchair -- being arrested, but we're not sure, as the Chicago media appears to be as lame as San Francisco.

Outside of Washington, D.C., in Hyattsville, Md., three Walmart workers and three supporters were arrested for civil disobedience and held over night -- according to a Twitter feed from @ChangeWalmart. The local NBC News report said they were arrested for blocking traffic.

In Dallas, 11 protesters were arrested and removed from Skillman Ave. after they blocked traffic.

Watch The Ed Show segment on the protests below (but first you'll have to watch news about a panda and auto sales).
Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy