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

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
What's Next
Trending Today
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small · 9,083 views today · With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia. Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian...
11 Traits of People With High Emotional Intelligence
Raven Fon · 7,775 views today · Lately, new ways to describe human interactions, social behaviours, and many facets of psychology have emerged on the social network scene. One of those descriptions is “high...
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 7,769 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 7,427 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
10 Provocative Quotes from Ivan Illich's "Deschooling Society"
Daniel Lattier · 6,444 views today · Ivan Illich’s groundbreaking book Deschooling Society (1971) offers a radical critique of the institutionalization of education within modern societies. Illich believed that we...
How a Trump Presidency Would Unleash a Torrent of Racist Violence-And Devastate the Left
Arun Gupta · 6,299 views today · The Left should take the Trump threat very seriously.
Maya Angelou's 3-Word Secret to Living Your Best Life
3 min · 4,579 views today · Dr. Maya Angelou says that in order to be the best human being you can be, you must follow one simple directive: "Just do right." Watch as Dr. Angelou reveals how you can never...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 4,562 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...
Doctors Response to Daily Mail Bigotry is Beautiful
Neil Tiwari · 4,259 views today · A poetic open letter to the Daily Mail newspaper from Dr. Neil Tiwari, in response to a bigoted attack on his colleagues, is going viral and it's beautiful.
Forest Man
16 min · 4,204 views today · Since the 1970's Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC...
Superblocks: How Barcelona Is Taking City Streets Back From Cars
5 min · 4,091 views today · Modern cities are designed for cars. But the city of Barcelona is testing out an urban design trick that can give cities back to pedestrians.
Real Change in Democracy Comes Not in the Voting Booth but Activism at the Grass-Roots
Ilze Peterson · 3,841 views today · Many years ago, the late Judy Guay, a low-income woman from Bangor, founded the Maine Association of Interdependent Neighborhoods in order to advocate for the neediest in our...
Fighting Trump - Residents Opposing Donald Trump's Scottish Golf Resort
14 min · 3,736 views today · Documentary on the residents protesting against Donald Trump's golf development on the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Directed and Presented by James Trosh.
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 3,000 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
Maria Popova · 2,644 views today · “Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”
Alan Watts: What If Money Was No Object?
3 min · 2,466 views today · How do you like to spend your life? What do you desire? What if money didn't matter? What if money was no object? What would you like to do if money were no object? Spoken...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 1,989 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Throw (2016)
10 min · 1,768 views today · The first installment of Invisible Thread, an ongoing ELM passion project series, Throw tells the story of an outsider from East Baltimore, an area challenged by gang violence...
10 Shocking Facts About Society That We Absurdly Accept As Normal
Joe Martino · 1,720 views today · When you take a moment and look around at the world, things can appear pretty messed up. Take 5 or 10 minutes and watch the 6 o’clock news. Chances are, the entire time, all...
A City Open to Migration and Diversity?
2 min · 1,604 views today · We speak to Thomas Jézéquel of Eurocities about what the city of Gdańsk can teach us.
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Security Forces Arrest Supporters of Striking Walmart Warehouse Workers