Walmart Workers, Even Santa, Arrested During Protest
Ontario, California-Friday, November 29th, 2013
While folks are out fighting each other for Black Friday deals today, Walmart employees and supporters were staging large protests at 1,500 locations around the nation today for better work conditions and higher pay. At one of the protests at the Ontario Walmart location, employees and supporters were arrested today, along with a man dressed as Santa.
The Ontario rally began at 6 a.m. with more than 100 protesters outside of the Ontario location. Ten of the protesters were arrested including the one in the St. Nick outfit, while the other protesters walked along the sidewalk.
Several members of Pueblo de Fe Unido-Pilgrim Place were present at the rally and one of them -Karl Hilgert- dressed as Santa was arrested.
A second protest was scheduled for noon today at the Walmart at 4101 Crenshaw Blvd. in Los Angeles. Warehouse Workers United representative said that most Walmart employees make less than $17,000 a year, while the federal poverty level for a family of four is $23,500. Bill Simon, the president and CEO of Wal-Mart, had said in September that half of his employees in the nation make $25,000 a year.
Elizabeth Brennan, who works with Warehouse Workers United, a group that has organized the protests, said that it’s been an “ongoing discussion” about how Walmart treats its employees. She added that when some employees have spoken up about their poverty wages, they’ve had their hours cut and even some have been fired.
“We’re creating a national dialogue about the country’s largest retailer in its role in creating great jobs in the economy,” said Brennan.