All photos by Allison Kilkenny
A coalition, including Occupy Wall Street, 99 Pickets, ALIGN, Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, and the Retail Action Project gathered in Secaucus, New Jersey today as part of nationwide protests against Walmart and in solidarity with the company’s employees, who have reported widespread abuse and intimidation.
While some brave Walmart employees joined protests in other locations (a Chicago Walmart worker who walked off the job declared, “My ends ain’t meeting) and others expressed reticence to join the protests (a California employee said her co-workers wouldn’t strike because “they think we’ll never win” and “they didn’t want to lose their jobs”), the protest in Secaucus was more about offering solidarity and basically mirrored Occupy’s system of jail support.
In short: Occupy wants to provide support for people risking a lot to fight for their rights. Sometimes, that means offering jail support to activists willing to get arrested. Today, it took the form of performing a mic check inside a Walmart and then conducting a protest outside to show Walmart employees, perhaps some of whom are intimidated by the union-busting practices of the corporation, that they’re not alone.
As OWS stated on its website: “Getting fired for demonstrating is a scary thing.”
We at the Occupy Solidarity Network would like to help alleviate that worry for anyone who is fired in retribution for organizing or demonstrating at Walmart. Walmart workers decided in October 2012 to strike on Black Friday after they were targeted for retaliation for speaking out against substandard work conditions and treatment in the first ever walk out in the history of the company. Now we are looking at a world in which the bravest workers of Walmart are being fired so they may be silenced.
We will support the workers participating in organizing efforts and nonviolent demonstrations in support of the fight for economic civil rights of the Walmart worker effort. Money raised will go towards paying stipends and living expenses for workers fired for organizing and participating in acts of peaceful civil disobedience.