In the Sacramento area, the suburban town of Roseville saw workers picketing on Black Friday (November 29, 2013), according to the news article, Protesters to Picket Walmart on Black Friday. Why the drama on Black Friday in the Sacramento-Roseville area? It ended with 15 arrests yesterday in Sacramento/Roseville when the Walmart on Roseville’s Pleasant Grove Boulevard saw 100-union-backed demonstrators.
The protestors were asking for higher pay for Wal-Mart employees after reports became public that hundreds of Wal-mart workers (associates) earned fewer than $25,000 annually, according to the November 30, 2013 Sacramento Bee print version article by Dale Kasler, Claudia Buck, and Hudson Sangree, “Black Friday loses a bit of its frenzy.” Also see in today’s Sacramento Bee online, “Black Friday slowed by Thursday openings; protests, arrests at Roseville Walmart,” and “25 arrested after California Wal-Mart protests.”
Man dressed as Santa Claus also arrested near another Wal-Mart protest area
And in the California city of Claremont, yesterday, on Black Friday, police arrested a man dressed as Santa at a protest against Walmart in California. After all, Santa joined the demonstration in peace, offering a candy cane.
Why was Santa Claus arrested on Black Friday? According to the KMBZ news report, “Santa’ Arrested at Walmart,” the Claremont, California man showed at Walmart dressed as Santa Claus, complete with long white beard. What Santa protested in front of Walmart along with other demonstrators, were what he claimed are unfair working conditions for Walmart’s employees, says the KMBZ news report. But the man ended up handcuffed and arrested on charges of civil disobedience, also according to an article in The San Bernardino Sun.
The issue is was it illegal to protest and then be charged with civil disobedience? Who was the man disobedient to? The demonstration was arranged by Warehouse Workers United to protest unfair working hours and low wages for Walmart employees (called Walmart associates). What good did it really do to handcuff and arrest the man? Maybe all he came to the demonstration for was to spread a cheerful ambiance to the protesters?
After all, what could Santa possibly do other than bring a smile to people walking up and down the area peacefully demonstrating? Perhaps another recourse might have been to bring petitions to representatives in the government? But workers do have the legal right to protest and demonstrate when they can show and validate any given working conditions they claim are unfair. It might end up being argued in court or in government.
And then again, only time can tell what changes demonstrations will bring to any given employees. As they say, the wind blows in different directions in due time. Ironically, Santa brought a candy cane to offer to the police, say the news reports. The scenario reminds people of the array of Christmas movies that feature Santa in various situations. For further details, see the news articles, “Walmart Wage Protest Leads To Arrest Of Man Dressed Like Santa” and the ABC news site, “‘Santa’ Arrested at Black Friday Protest.”