Kansas City union activists protested at five different Wal Mart stores Friday. They were part of a nation-wide series of protests against the huge retail company.
The largest rally Kansas City took place just across the Missouri state line in the small Kansas suburb of Roeland Park.
There were more than 80 protesters lined along the main drive way into the store. They were there for about an hour.
The main message from protesters was that Wal Mart does not treat its employees fairly.
“The amount of raw discontent is palpable”, said former Wal Mart worker Andrew Miller.
Miller said anyone who tried to discuss organizing Wal Mart workers into a union was fired, “on the spot”.
A group calling themselves ‘OURWalmart’ is behind the latest effort to organize some Wal Mart workers. Demonstrators say they tried handing out leaflets to Wal Mart workers at Kansas City stores Friday. The leaflets called for Wal Mart workers to walk of their jobs on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. It did not appear that any current Wal Mart workers joined the city’s largest protest outside the suburban store.
The Kansas City protest appeared to be driven local organized labor activists.
Auto Worker Santino Scalici said organized labor of Kansas City will support any Wal Mart workers who believe they’re being retaliated against for supporting the OURWalmart group.
One man who went into the store where the largest protests was being held told the demonstrators, “I support ya’ll but I got to get my flat screen TV for $200".
Another Wal Mart shopper, Paula Garcia told KMBC TV she believes the protesters have valid points.
Garcia added, “I pick up a few things here because it’s close.”
Some protesters said Wal mart is also damaging small business in small communities by undercutting their prices and driving them out of business.
Union activist Alice Kitchen said, “every time a big business like that comes in, it hurts local small buisinesses.
Throughout the nation, OURWalmart claimed to have held about 1,000 protests in 46 states.
A Wal Mart spokesperson told the Associated Press the protesters’ claim was exaggerated.