Hundreds of labor and community activists shut down K Street on Thursday as they marched on the Walton Family Foundation’s 18th Street offices to call out the big-box giant for paying low wages while amassing huge wealth for the Walton family. “This is so empowering!” 14-year Walmart Associate Cyndi Murray told Union City. “It’s not just about Walmart workers, it’s about everyone who’s underpaid, under-appreciated and overworked in America. We’re taking our country back!”
The Waltons are now worth more than 150 billion dollars, more than nearly half the workers in the country combined. A huge sign saying “Waltons are Robbing America” led the demonstration, along with dozens of Walmart workers with bullhorns. Demonstrators tried to deliver a petition from Walmart workers across the country calling on Walmart to publicly commit to raise pay to $15 an hour and provide consistent, full-time work, but the foundation claimed to be closed for the day. Undeterred, the crowd of activists promised “We’ll be back!” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told the crowd that "sometimes it's not enough to rally and march" and fifteen Walmart strikers and activists were arrested after sitting in at 18th and K Streets (photo); in New York City, 25 were arrested during a simultaneous Walmart action there.
If the Waltons fail to respond, protesters promise to return to Walmart stores on Black Friday. The march was preceded by a rally at the AFL-CIO at which a number of political and community allies, including DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Maryland State Senator Roger Manno pledged their support for the “Fight for $15.”
- report/photos by Chris Garlock; bottom photo by @ChangeWalmart