Thanksgiving Walmart Solidarity Action at Aurora Walmart – Pay a Living Wage

by , posted on Friday, November 29th, 2013 at 8:20 am

About 35-40 activists braved the cold on Thanksgiving evening at the Walmart on the corner of Butterfield Rd. and Kirk Rd. in Aurora, IL.   Thanks to the Northern Illinois Light Brigade (NILB), we had beautiful, lighted signs that shoppers and ongoing traffic could see.  The signs read, “Living Wage Now!” and “Fight for $15”  You can check out some of the photos that will eventually be loaded to the NILB Facebook page.

The action was peaceful and our really cool lighted signs earned a number of honks from holiday travelers.  There was a bit of controversy when we approached the Walmart store.  A number of security guards attempted to stop us from taking up a spot in front of the store and told us that “we had to leave now or they would call the police.”  We stayed for 3-5 minutes and chanted, “Low Pay is not OK” and “hey-hey, ho-ho, the poverty wages have to go!”

After we were finally evicted, our group marched around the block and corner at Butterfield Rd. and Kirk Rd., being sure to stay on public property.  The police remained nearby until we left for the evening.

The other beautiful thing about tonight was the solidarity – people from Occupy Naperville, Occupy Elgin, Occupy Rockford, Immigrant Solidarity DuPage, Northern Illinois Light Brigade and Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice all participated.  These folks are part family.  I’m hoping we don’t have to make this a tradition much longer, but I’m guessing we will be back next year.

As I think about this action, I’m wondering how we can shut those Walmart stores down on Thanksgiving.  As a young man I worked at an Amoco gas station and served in the U.S. Navy.  I volunteered for Thanksgiving work and duty (Navy) because I knew that most of the others had families to be with.  As I get older, I think, “really, do we need to have a Walmart or McDonald’s open on Thanksgiving?”  With “pay at the pump” we could even shut gas stations down.

Next Thanksgiving my goal is to get 300 people in front of Walmart to block the doors – non-violent, civil disobedience.  As a community, we should be telling the Waltons to leave American families alone on Thanksgiving.  I’ve had enough – how about you?


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