Labor News: L.A. Labor Unites Against Walmart

Local 47 officers among 43 arrested in the largest civil disobedience action in the mega-chain’s history

Surrounded by about 100 police officers in riot gear and a helicopter circling above, more than 50 Walmart workers and supporters were arrested in downtown Los Angeles the night of Nov. 7 as they sat in the street protesting the corporation’s low-wage poverty policies.

Local 47 members

Photo by Linda A. Rapka
More than a dozen Local 47 members joined about 500 activists Nov. 7 in a protest outside the Chinatown Walmart. Among the AFM contingent were Lynn and Maurice Grants, Alan Busteed, Vice President John Acosta, Joseph Hancock, Robin Lasley, Secretary/Treasurer Gary Lasley, Neil Samples, organizer Ethan Harris, Naomi Sato, and EMD Administrator Gordon Grayson.

Brandishing bright-blue Local 47 activist T-shirts, more than a dozen members joined a crowd of about 500 including labor supporters, Walmart workers, and clergy and participated in the demonstration. Those who refused police orders to clear the street after their permit expired were arrested without incident.

Police officers outside Chinatown Walmart

More than 100 police officers formed a human barricade circling the seated protestors outside the Chinatown Walmart store.

Among those who refused to disperse were Local 47 Vice President John Acosta, Secretary/Treasurer Gary Lasley and other labor leaders and activists, including LA County Fed Executive Secretary Maria Elena Durazo.

Local 47 Vice President John Acosta and Secretary/Treasurer Gary Lasley

Local 47 Vice President John Acosta and Secretary/Treasurer Gary Lasley

Local 47 VP and Sec/Treas

Photo courtesy of the Jewish Labor Committee
Local 47 Vice President John Acosta and Secretary/Treasurer Gary Lasley sit with Jewish Labor Committee President Floyd Glen-Lambert (holding sign, at right) and other demonstrators moments before boarding the police bus.

The action was enhanced by live music performed by Local 47 band Los Jornaleros Del Norte (Day Laborers of the North) led by Pablo Alvarado, who also serves as director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

Performing live were Los Jornaleros Del Norte (The Day Laborers of the North) led by Pablo Alvarado with Omar Leon, Fredy Rabanales, Manuel Ortiz, Arnoldo Juraez, Benny Colop, Erwin Mancilla and Cesar Castro.

Performing live were Los Jornaleros Del Norte (The Day Laborers of the North) led by Pablo Alvarado with Omar Leon, Fredy Rabanales, Manuel Ortiz, Arnoldo Juraez, Benny Colop, Erwin Mancilla and Cesar Castro.

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