Demonstrators protest Wal-Mart in Boynton Beach, Florida, Friday, November 23, 2012. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
Check this space for updates throughout the day, and please send tips to jeidelson at gmail dot com.
9:15 pm: San Leandro workers, and the “brass liberation band” accompanying them, were blocked by police when they attempted to enter their store for a flash mob. San Leandro’s was the last major demonstration of tonight. The three workers who were arrested for civil disobedience this afternoon have returned home. The Corporate Action Network has posted a map of many of the day’s protests. This is the final live blog post of the night—thanks to all who offered tips. I’ll have a wrap-up post up later. Tomorrow, the Walmart strikers are headed back to work, with at least one exception: a San Leandro worker who wanted to strike but was scheduled for days off on Thursday and Friday, She’ll be striking tomorrow.
7:05 pm: San Leandro, California, workers just launched a picket line outside their store. Striker Dominic Ware told The Nation he was scared to go on strike, but he was more scared for “future inviduals who come [to Walmart] looking for a better environment and looking for an opportunity to better their lives, and get slapped in the face like I did.” He said he was driven to strike by unfair discipline and poor management.
The picket line will include a “brass liberation band” and a dragon puppet. Ware said that fifty or sixty supporters had already arrived fifteen minutes early. As for San Leandro retail workers on strike, he said, “So far there’s only two, but there’s supposed to be another brother” on his way. “A lot of people get cold feet at the last minute but that’s OK.” Ware said that the most common reason for workers not striking is “being told that they’ll be fired if they participate.”
“It’s amazing, it’s really amazing,” said Ware, “to see all of the people that were brave enough to go on strike” and “the community support…. it just touched me in so many ways that I really haven’t taken it all in.” After today, said Ware, “I hope I wouldn’t have to strike anymore. But as long as they keep playing and they don’t fix anything, I’m going to keep doing what I need to do to get their attention.”
“It’s just beautiful, man,” said Ware. “We’re winning. No matter what Walmart says, we’re winning.”
6:30 pm: Congressman George Miller, the ranking Democrat on the House Education and Labor Committee and a longtime union ally, spoke at an event with striking Walmart workers in California today. That’s noteworthy because most federal Democratic officeholders have so far been silent on the historic strikes against the nation’s largest employer (Miller’s future colleague, Congressman-elect Alan Grayson, rallied with strikers in Florida today). The White House still has not responded to The Nation’s request for comment Tuesday regarding the strikes. Walmart critics have received support from some local politicians in cities like Los Angeles and New York where the company’s expansion is hotly contested.