More Than 100 Arrested At Black Friday Walmart Strikes

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Above: Activists in Secaucus, New Jersey, engage in an act of civil disobedience during a Black Friday Walmart protest. All photos by Allison Kilkenny

Below Photo Gallery Protests Across The Country

Walmart employees and supporters protested in cities all across the country on Black Friday in opposition to Walmart’s low wages and poor treatment of workers. In some cases, protesters volunteered to engage in acts of civil disobedience and were arrested by police. Organizers expected 1,500 total protests in California, Alaska, New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington and Canada.
In Secaucus, New Jersey, thirteen activists were arrested after sitting in the middle of the street to block traffic. Marc Bowers said he worked at a Walmart in Dallas, Texas, for eight years before he was fired for participating in a strike. After Walmart fired him, he decided to get more involved with worker organizing, including traveling to New Jersey for this year’s Black Friday protest. Bowers said he hopes to inspire other workers enduring similar hardships.

Walmart Black Friday strike Seacaucus, NJ, Elaine Rozier and Marc Bowers, right by Allison Kilkenny

Walmart Black Friday strike Seacaucus, NJ, Elaine Rozier and Marc Bowers, right by Allison Kilkenny

“If you let people know what’s going on, they’ll get involved too. They’re probably fed up with the same things,” he said. Bowers added that this labor struggle will influence future generations.

“I’m here to fight for everybody who has been done wrong. I feel like, if I don’t fight, our next generation of kids will not have a future. As a man, I have the right to stand up on my own two feet. And I’m doing it right now,” he said.

Walmart Black Friday strike by Allison Kilkenny

Walmart Black Friday strike by Allison Kilkenny

The National Labor Relations Board announced last week that it plans to pursue charges against Walmart for threatening and punishing workers who planned to go on strike last year.

The agency’s general counsel investigated and “found merit” in workers’ claims that Walmart “unlawfully threatened” employees for participating in walkouts during last year’s Black Friday. According to the agency, Walmart intimidated, surveilled or punished workers in fourteen different states, which is illegal under US labor law. The threats and intimidation include comments from official Walmart spokesperson David Tovar, who told CBS Evening News last year, “There could be consequences” for workers participating in any actions. Also in attendance at the Secaucus protest was Elaine Rozier, who worked at a Walmart in Miami, Florida, for eight years.

Walmart Black Friday strike Seacaucus, NJ, Veteran for Peace's Bill Perry arrested.  By Allison Kilkenny

Walmart Black Friday strike Seacaucus, NJ, Veteran for Peace’s Bill Perry arrested. By Allison Kilkenny

“I’m here today to represent all the solid Walmart workers that are afraid to stand up for their rights. I’m here to represent the nation, to let Walmart corporation know that we’re not standing back. I’m stand up for my rights, for my kids, for my grandkids and their kids. I’m tired of not getting living wages,” Rozier said, before thanking the other activists for lending support. Other arrests occurred in Chicago, where ten protesters were arrested for allegedly blocking traffic, along with nine activists in Alexandria, Virginia.

In Balch Springs, Texas, thirteen protesterswere also arrested for blocking traffic and “creat[ing] a dangerous situation” for themselves and drives, according to Deputy Chief Paul Haber. “Everyone has a living wage and we need one, too,” said Myron Byrd, 45, a Walmart worker who was led away in handcuffs by police.

According to organizers, at least fifty-five people have been arrested during this year’s Black Friday Walmart protests.

Update: Organizers from UFCW and Our Walmart now estimate more than 110 activists have been arrested.

The photos below are from November 29, 2013, the Black Friday Walmart protests.  The photos all come from twitter unless otherwise indicated.  They are grouped in alphabetical order by state.

More photos from Ted Majdosz of Black Friday strikes in Maryland and Virginia are available here.

  • Rise Up Times

    We had 26 arrests in Minneapolis, a hotbed of resistance. Not only the groups mentioned in this video: http://youtu.be/AvPhQLc28KQ. But Women Against Military Madness, Break the Bonds (Palestine), Occupy Homes MN, Veterans for Peace Chapter 27, the Anti-War Committee, and many many more. Always the emphasis seems to be on the east coast. And if the not the east coast, then the west coast. Gets a little tiresome. Although I like seeing what is going on in other parts of the country.

  • Rise Up Times

    Another point about the Twin Cities. Are we all Norwegians, Swedes and Germans? Well, there are a lot of us, who settled here around 1900. But in the Twin Cities, we have many immigrant groups who are also active: Mexican immigrant workers, both an older population in St. Paul and more recent immigrants in Minneapolis (very large May Day marches for immigrant rights); Vietnamese—one of the largest populations in the country– and then came the Hmong; after the Hmong came the Somalis, and with them, a Muslim population, our newest immigrant group who have also learned how to be activists around issues close to their hearts. Some place in there are the Tibetans, who are exiled, although not as large a group, large enough for the Delhi Lama to come here. The Native Americans have been here forever. We have a native sacred site called Coldwater Spriings, 10,000 years old, that is now a national park and many other native historical sites throughout the Twin Cities and Minnesota. We have an Idle No More MN group. We have native resistance to the Enbridge pipeline in northern Minnesota with the Red Lake tribe. We have a 350MN.org group. Occupy still meets weekly. And of course we have the antiwar activists, nine of them, targeted by the FBI for their solidarity with other oppressed people around the world. And there is more. KFAI community radio, with more non-English programs than any other radio station in the country. Not to mention public radio and TV, although not always as progressive as we would like.

    Perhaps we are not that different from other states, but how would I know?. And of course the mainstream corporate media does not report activity, and we appreciate what PopularResistance.org does report, because it is difficult to know all that is going on around the country. Which is why Popular Resistance is so important. And so is freepress.org and FAIR and the other media advocacy websites.

    And we have more coops (grocery coops) than any other state, because in Minnesota we have a long tradition of cooperatives that goes back to the 1930s, which has reinvented itself in the form of coops. We have the largest coop in the country in sales (the Wedge) and also the third largest (the Seward).

  • Sonya

    Thanks for all the great photos. Hope it’s ok that I shared them. The Lame-stream press latched onto the Santa Claus getting arrested and very little else… nothing new there. But this movement is growing! Kudos to all who participated and supported!

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