Three people who were protesting Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT)’s policies and practices were arrested today in New York City. Caroline Fairchild of The Huffington Post reports that the arrests came outside the offices of Christopher Williams, a board member for the retail chain. There are no Wal-Mart stores located inside the city.
Protesters petition Wal-Mart
They were reportedly attempting to deliver a petition to Williams. The worker advocacy group Making Change at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) said told the publication that the protesters were trying to deliver that petition directly to Williams. The arrests reportedly came when Williams refused to meet with the protesters.
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The petition they were attempting to deliver calls for a $25,000 per year minimum full-time starting salary. In addition, it pushes for better protection for workers.
Current, former Wal-Mart workers arrested
The three protesters who were arrested were current Wal-Mart employee Barbara Gertz from Denver and former Wal-Mart employees Lucas Handy from Iowa and Susan Gulick from South Carolina. A spokesperson for Making Change at Wal-Mart said Handy had been fired for speaking out against the retail chain previously.
A spokesperson for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) claims that the protests are “just a show” and that most protesters who take part in them are not connected with the chain “in any way.”
NYC protest part of a larger action
Karen McVeigh of The Guardian reports that Wal-Mart workers planned broad protests in 15 different cities across the U.S. today. Organizers of today’s protest said it marks the largest action since November when they went on strike ahead of Black Friday. They claim at that November strike, 400 workers of the retail chain walked off the job.
The protests are aimed at getting Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) to raise wages and improve working conditions. Another advocacy group, OurWalmart, which is backed by labor unions, said it has filed over 100 unfair labor practice charges against the big box chain with the National Labor Relations Board. The organization said that includes 20 illegal terminations and 80 disciplinary actions. Wal-Mart officials have denied that the chain did anything wrong.
Other planned protests by Wal-Mart workers today include a march in Los Angeles and a rally in front of San Francisco’s Four Seasons hotel where another Wal-Mart board member has an apartment in the penthouse. Workers also expected to protest in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Sacramento and Boston.