Nine fired Walmart workers and a current employee were arrested Thursday afternoon while rallying outside the company's offices in Washington D.C., according to the rally's organizers, the non-union group, OUR Walmart. The workers -- seen right -- were arrested on a misdemeanor charge of blocking passage after they blocked the entrance to Walmart's office, organizers confirmed to AOL Jobs. OUR Walmart has announced a Labor Day deadline for the country's largest private employer to increase salaries to a minimum of $25,000 a year and reinstate workers whom, OUR Walmart claims, have been fired in retaliation for their activism. Protest organizers told The Nation that "hundreds" participated in the afternoon rally.
"Enough is enough. We cannot wait any longer for Walmart to do what's right for its workers and our families and all of our communities," recently fired Walmart worker Barbara Collins said in an OUR Walmart press release. According to salary information website Glassdoor, the average hourly wage for a Walmart sales associate is $8.86 an hour. Walmart has a total of 2.2 million workers.
The Nation, quoting union organizers, said that some 50 workers have been fired or disciplined by Walmart for their activism. But in an emailed statement, Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said, "no associates were disciplined for participating in any specific protests."
Formed two years ago, OUR Walmart garnered its most headlines for the protests it organized on the retail industry's so-called Black Friday 2012, when 30,000 people protested outside Walmart stores throughout the country, according to the group. And as AOL Jobs has reported, protesters have begun to adopt an array of creative tactics to try and demand an improvement in conditions. In June, activists crashed Yahoo's shareholders' meeting to ask company CEO and Walmart board member Marissa Mayer to advocate for Walmart workers. (She deflected the request from fired Walmart worker Vanessa Ferreira, and instead gave her the business card of an assistant to help her set up a meeting.)
And just this week, a group of activists flocked to a racetrack Laguna Seca, Calif. to organize a protest. What brought them there? Company chairman Robert S. Walton was spending the day racing his Maserati, Ferrari and two other cars. In total, the cars are valued at $16 million.
(h/t The Nation)