Another story the mainstream news is slated to mostly ignore, as youtubes begin coming in on the Walmart workers Black Friday protest at 1,500 locations across the United States. Workers are demanding liveable wages, better working conditions and benefits, and an end to illegal retaliatory treatment against employees who stand up for their basic rights.
Walmart employs 1.4 million people, while Black Friday is the largest shopping day in the country with Walmart often reporting record breaking sales. So, if Walmart is making so much money, why can't they pay their workers sufficient wages?
From Alexandria, Virginia with further coverage here on the arrests.
From Los Angeles:
From Balch Springs, Texas, where Walmart protesters chant, "Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Retaliation has got to go!"
Joshua Nabors, who works from midnight to five, speaks heartfelt to fellow protesters in Lancaster, Texas. Mr. Nabors told the crowd that he was taught "to fight for what I stand for," that it's wrong how Walmart is treating its workers, and that, "God is on the side of people who are fighting for what they believe in."
More here from Salon.
And another piece here, including video, from Ontario, California. One cashier describes how workers can't survive without some type of assistance or the support of other family members, while another tells reporters, "You see workers relying on governmental funds such as food stamps, and it's sad because we obviously work for the number one retailer and they can do more for associates."
At this time, PoliticusUSA is reporting that the arrests are piling up across the country, with 9 in Alexandria Virginia, 13 in Dallas Fort Worth, 10 in Chicago, and a peaceful Santa Claus arrested with others in Southern California.
Santa, walmart supporters and warehouse workers risk arrest in front of #walmart #walmartstrikers pic.twitter.com/awJiRTmvRK
— Warehouse Workers (@wwunited) November 29, 2013
Protests are taking place in major metropolitan areas across the nation like Los Angeles, California, Miami, Florida, the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Washington D.C., and Minneapolis, among others. At the time of this posting, video from the Our Walmart website shows a large crowd loudly and vigorously chanting, "Stand your ground! Stand your ground!" and "Workers outside the store! We got the workers outside the store!"
Livestream from Virginia here.
*Photo credit/top, via Salon, photographer:
Salon now reports 81 total people arrested in 6 actions, including a Saint Paul protest with both Walmart workers and striking sub-contracted janitors who clean buildings for Target. In a conversation with Congressman Alan Grayson, the Florida representative questioned President Obama's praise for the controversial retail giant, also stating, “We’ve established a system that makes a tiny, tiny number of people unbelievably wealthy at the expense of everyone else – and turns everyone else into debt slaves and cheap labor.” Furthermore, Mr. Grayson said, "Even people who are employed now, many of them are not making enough money to survive. And the outlet more and more for people that they see is this kind of civil disobedience, because the political system has become completely unresponsive to their genuine concerns and their physical needs.”
More below from twitter:
Elaine from @ForRespect: “I’m here to let @walmart know that we’re not standing back!” #WalmartStrikers pic.twitter.com/P1Qyt0xYO7
— 99 Pickets (@99pickets) November 29, 2013
#BlackFriday action at Walmart in Secaucus. Tons of love, solidarity & creativity on display #WalmartStrikers pic.twitter.com/KlvzttBwax
— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallSt) November 29, 2013
#WalmartStrikers arrested in #Dallas: pic.twitter.com/0TldWchqc4
— Tar Sands Blockade (@kxlblockade) November 29, 2013
Rt @WeRAllAnonymous: Multiple arrests now at #Seattle #WalmartStrikers action. pic.twitter.com/hn5q4gzamm #BlackFriday
— RadicalMedia_ (@UnToldCarlisle) November 29, 2013
Those balloons look dangerous. MT @WeRAllAnonymous: Police make multiple arrests today at #Seattle #WalmartStrikers pic.twitter.com/QgNJ7RC7yo
— Zach Green (@140elect) November 29, 2013
Rt @WeRAllAnonymous: #Seattle grandma arrested at #WalmartStrikers action. #Solidarity pic.twitter.com/FeRX3LMKSP #BlackFriday
— RadicalMedia_ (@UnToldCarlisle) November 29, 2013
Paramilitary police in #Seattle surround #WalmartStrikers "armed" with balloons pic.twitter.com/88RcDzDLOT #BlackFriday #WalmartElves
— John Sheehan (@dogstar7tweets) November 29, 2013
This time with the right hashtag #WalmartStrikers block traffic in Roseville (sac'to) CA all 16 arrested now free pic.twitter.com/yd6lHC13oj
— Ed Sutton (@EdSudden) November 29, 2013
"@BrThWi01: When you shop @Walmart & @WalmartCOM You support this #WalmartStrikers #WalmartElves pic.twitter.com/IbMssVQsBY"
— ~AS~ (@angelsavant) November 29, 2013
Woot! RT @JamesFTInternet: Atlanta Light Brigade prepares @Walmart for tomorrow! #WalmartStrikers @OWSAtlanta pic.twitter.com/rBO6euPymC
— ForRespect (@ForRespect) November 29, 2013
Walmart's 5 owners have as much wealth as bottom 42% of America combined, yet can't pay #livingwage? pic.twitter.com/vR48a2qUue #WalmartStrikers
— Lee Orion (@LOrionII) November 29, 2013
yesterday was Gray Thursday, Today is Black Friday… Tomorrow is... pic.twitter.com/eE0GXT3u2S
— Davey D (@mrdaveyd) November 29, 2013
If you’re new to the Walmart issue, or wondering why it’s a big deal, here’s a good place to start: http://t.co/sWthZmNHrG #WalmartStrikersEditor's update, 11/29/2013, 7:17 P.M. EST, 10:17 Pacific. Salon reports tens of thousands participating in today's action with 111 arrests in 8 actions and more expected from San Leandro, California. 97 minutes ago, San Jose Mercury News reported five San Leandro arrests, bringing the known total to 116, and as the paper estimated about 350 people gathered to protest in front of the Walmart at that location. The five people arrested engaged in civil disobedience by blocking traffic in order to raise awareness about the event. They were released by police soon after. One of the persons arrested, 56 year old El Cerrito resident Pam Davis, told reporters that she had been fired from Walmart last summer after standing up for higher wages. Video below from a boisterous San Leandro action, including chanting, dancing performers, and live music:
— Joshua Chavers (@JoshuaChavers) November 29, 2013
More footage, too, from the Bellevue, Washington action where protesters carried the distinctive green balloons shown in pictures shared on twitter:
From Secaucus, New Jersey:
From Sterling Heights, Michigan where demonstrators delivered a petition to the Walmart store management and chanted, "We won't stop! We won't stop!"
Editor's correction: This blog earlier published an incorrect video for the Los Angeles Black Friday protest - the one from 2012. It has been replaced with the correct video - for parts of the Los Angeles November 29, 2013 Black Friday Protest.