Texas clergy and students back Walmart strikers

LANCASTER, TEXAS – On Saturday June 1, we held a rendezvous at a Kroger’s store in DeSoto, and 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. The group 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. 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 happy we were there

Outside, we assembled 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 Bangladesh. Walmart had refused to join an effort to improve workplace safety there.

We expect to protest at least three more North Texas stores on Friday.

Photo: Jim Lane/PW