Security Forces Arrest Supporters of Striking Walmart Warehouse Workers
By Kevin Gosztola / dissenter.firedoglake.com
Oct 1, 2012

Community, faith and labor organizations mobilized this afternoon for a rally and civil disobedience action in support of thirty-eight workers on strike at a Walmart warehouse in Elwood, Illinois. They marched down to this distribution center, and, at least thirteen clergy and community leaders sat down and blocked an entrance to the center to prevent goods from arriving or leaving the warehouse. After the leaders sat down in the road, a security force believed to be the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System Mobile Field Force, clad in riot gear, marched out and surrounded the leaders.

The security force arrested all of the people committing civil disobedience. They had an officer with a camera taking video of the action. They also drove a Humvee with an Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) out into the street and parked fifty to one hundred feet away from where people were being arrested. The warehouse was, according to Warehouse Workers for Justice (WWJ), completely shut down.

Live streamer “MoccupyChi” was on hand and captured the entire action, including the paramilitary force that greeted those engaged in nonviolent action.

Walmart had a private security force on hand to arrest clergy and community leaders there to support workers because the distribution center is located in a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). The distribution center, as WWJ’s website details, is also “one of the most important transportation and distribution hubs in the world.”

  • The only location in the hemisphere where all six Class I railroads meet, Chicago transports half the nation’s rail freight.
  • Seven interstate highways crisscross the Chicago region. Only two states have more interstate highway miles than Illinois. Chicago is a two-day truck haul from 219 million people, or 42% of the continent.
  • Chicago is now, by some estimates, the third-largest container port in the world, after Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • As a result, almost a trillion dollars worth of goods pass through the Chicago region every year.

(Photo by @daneyvilla)

The multinational corporation was prepared with the kind of police force one would expect at a national special security event, like a political convention, because the warehouse entrance the leaders were blocking with their bodies is possibly the “largest intermodal” distribution center in the country. [The riot police squad may have been a force tasked with policing the entire center, which other corporations in addition to Walmart use, and may not solely be a militarized force there to protect Walmart from—in this case—peaceful protesters.]

The workers at the Walmart warehouse have been on strike since September 15 of this year. They  are employed by Roadlink, a Walmart contractor that handles the multinational corporation’s logistics. They went on strike to protest unfair labor practices that include retaliation against workers, who brought concerns to management and demanded regular hours and a living wage.

The workers were temporarily suspended when they went to management with these demands. Several of them were immediately fired.

WWJ reported a wage theft lawsuit had been filed for “non-payment for all hours worked, paying less than the minimum wage and non-payment of overtime worked” just days before. One of the plaintiffs was a worker immediately fired on the spot on September 15.

Workers striking in Elwood also aimed to show solidarity with warehouse workers in southern California, who went on strike to protest workplace retaliation by their employers, NFI and Warestaff. The California workers also move Walmart goods for these contractors.

Most of the leaders who were arrested were released immediately from jail.

(Photo by @daneyvilla)

*For more photos or labor organizing tweets, follow @daneyvilla on Twitter.

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
Deconstructing Hierarchies: On Contrived Leadership and Arbitrary Positions of Power
Colin Jenkins · 7,954 views today · Bosses don't grow on trees. They don't magically appear at your job. They aren't born into their roles. They are created. They are manufactured to fulfill arbitrary positions...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 7,389 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Trump Is a Symptom of a Sickness That Is Raging All Across The World
1 min · 5,652 views today · This is why we are here. And this is what we need to remember. 
Baraka (1992)
97 min · 5,485 views today · Featuring no conventional narrative, this film presents footage of people, places and things from around the world. From chaotic cities to barren wilderness, the movie takes...
Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss: Bracing for Trump's Anti-Worker, Corporate Agenda
Colin Jenkins · 3,291 views today · Rich people don’t have to have a life-and-death relationship with the truth and its questions; they can ignore the truth and still thrive materially. I am not surprised many...
The Myth of Romantic Love May Be Ruining Your Health
Susanne Vosmer · 2,776 views today · Romantic love in Western societies is often portrayed in a stereotypical way: two yearning halves, who search for each other to find their complete, original state. Few find...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 2,559 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Prophecy Delivered! Martin Luther King Jr. and the Death of Democracy
Reverend Osagyefo Sekou · 2,355 views today · “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Democracy is dead. It...
Trump: The Illusion of Change
Helena Norberg-Hodge · 2,305 views today · “Only by restoring the broken connections can we be healed.” — Wendell Berry
What Is My Activism Really About? to Love, Serve and Remember
Tim Hjersted · 2,204 views today · I have made a promise to this world that I will carry with me to my last days. It is my vow to lessen the suffering of the world while I am here - it is to ensure that every...
Why I Think This World Should End
4 min · 2,006 views today · Sorry if this offends you. - Prince Ea
Thoughts on the Eve of the Trump Regime
Mark Corske · 1,839 views today · A blend of dread, disgust, rage, and despair for the future, all in a state of shocked disbelief—if you feel something like this facing the Trump regime’s ascent to power...
Escape! From the Cult of Materialism (2016)
50 min · 1,606 views today · Does the philosophy of materialism work to destroy our identities, experience, and environment? Join narrator Daphne Ellis on a radical romp through the evidence and decide for...
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 1,189 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 711 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Stunning Photos By Alexander Semenov Showcase The Alien Beauty Of Jellyfish
Earth Porm · 668 views today · Jellyfish appear like beautiful aliens in Alexander Semenov’s photography, calling a new attraction to a magical species of marine life. Alexander Semenov is a marine...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 606 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Living Through an Age of Unraveling: Reflections as We Enter 2017
Martin Winiecki · 509 views today · “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.” ― R. Buckminster Fuller
Looking Forward to the Day That Nationalism Is as Reviled as Racism
Tim Hjersted · 478 views today · Nationalism is a form of geographical racism that makes some lives matter more than others, and explicitly justifies that logic without apology. While today, not even lying...
Positive Thinking in a Dark Age: A Guide to Gracefully Losing Faith in a Collapsing Dominant Culture
Jim Tull · 440 views today · I recall a Buddhist parable involving a stick that appears from a distance to be a snake, causing fear to rise in the perceiver. As the perception shifts upon closer...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Security Forces Arrest Supporters of Striking Walmart Warehouse Workers