Protests against Walmart's (NYSE:WMT) wage and employee policies last week resulted in dozens of arrests in 15 cities, mostly for trespassing and blocking the entrances to buildings, the Huffington Post reported.
The arrests came as demonstrations grew to a size that the world's largest retailer couldn't ignore. In a statement, a Walmart spokesperson said, "It's just a show and, with very few exceptions, the cast members don't work at Walmart nor are they affiliated with the company in any way." The statement also listed reasons the company believes most of its associates aren't participating in the protests.
But protesters said one of the goals of the demonstrations was to push for reinstatement of 20 employees who allegedly were unfairly fired and 80 who were disciplined for taking part in strikes earlier this year.
"We're tired of the retaliation from Walmart for associates who speak out," a Walmart employee told a local television station in Sacramento. Walmart says it has a policy against retaliation. The National Labor Relations Board says it is looking into 36 complaints filed by current and former Walmart employees.
Despite the increased crowd sizes—reportedly about 200 in a Washington, D.C., suburb, between 75 and 100 in Sacramento and three dozen in Orlando, for example—the protests on Thursday (Sept. 5) were peaceful. However, arrests for disorderly conduct, mostly for blocking building entrances and streets, ramped up during the demonstrations: 21 in Los Angeles; seven in Orlando; 11 in Dallas; six in a Washington, D.C., suburb; 11 in a Seattle suburb.
Three protesters were also arrested in New York City, which has no Walmart stores. The demonstrators were reportedly trying to deliver a petition to a company board member in a Manhattan office building.
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