In what organizers have called the largest single act of civil disobedience in Wal-Mart's five-decade history, Wal-Mart workers and their supporters blocked streets in downtown Los Angeles Thursday night, resulting in 54 arrests.
The demonstrators were acting in solidarity with a coordinated employee walkout this week, reported by our own Josh Eidelson. The California walkouts, Eidelson noted, "launch[ed] the first multi-store Walmart work stoppage since the retail giant fired twenty workers who’d joined a June walkout. The surprise strike is the latest effort to squeeze the retail giant to address workers’ grievances over wages, scheduling, and alleged retaliation."
Coordinated by advocacy group OUR Walmart, which has ties to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the strikes and protest in L.A. this week are the first in what organizers said would be a series of protests heading into the holiday season, building on momentum first sparked by Black Friday strikes last year.
HuffPo reported on the rally, which led to over 50 arrests:
The 54 arrestees, with about 500 protesting Walmart workers, clergy and supporters, demonstrated outside LA's Chinatown Walmart. Those who refused police orders to clear the street after their permit expired were arrested without incident. Those who fail to post $5,000 bail would be jailed overnight, Detective Gus Villanueva, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman, told The Huffington Post.
Their primary demand to Walmart: pay every full-time worker at least $25,000 a year.