by Jim Lane
LANCASTER, TEXAS -- On Saturday June 1, we held a rendezvous at a Kroger's store in DeSoto, then car pooled to the Walmart in nearby Lancaster to urge on the striking employees. Even before we started, some young people were passing out leaflets urging everyone to come to more events being planned for Friday June 7.
Managers stopped some of the protest crew before they entered the store, but most of us got in. We held a good loud rally, with lots of signs and placards, inside. We had planned to get down on one knee and have a prayer from one of the three Methodist ministers accompanying us, but police and Walmart management made that impossible.
We did manage to get off several rousing cheers of "Stand up, Live Better!" I noticed, and other people confirmed, that the customers who saw us seemed favorable to our cause. The three ministers, wearing religious scarves hand-made in Guatemala, lead us solemnly out the door, where we broke into"We, Are, the Ninety-Nine Percent!" as we passed through the parking lot. Again, the customers seemed very favorable.
Outside, we assembled on the public access curbside to the service road of
Highway 35, which is, ironically, the NAFTA highway. There, we protested
low wages, unattainable benefits, and murderous uncertain working hours.
State Representative Roberto Alonzo urged us to keep at it until decent
treatment becomes available for all workers. Reverend Doctor Joerg Rieger
assured us that God and Jesus Christ, a carpenter, were clearly on our side.
An Our Walmart organizer talked about international solidarity with workers
in Bengladesh. The AFL-CIO had just written that Walmart had refused to
join an effort<http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Global-Action/Walmart-Gap-Refuse-to-Sign-Bangladesh-Safety-Pact.>to
improve workplace safety there.
Similar events were taking place all over the nation. Dallas activists expect to protest at least three more North Texas stores on Friday & Saturday. The Autoworkers and others are doing this nationwide.