Organizers estimate “about 30 people” showed up for Wednesday morning’s demonstration at Walmart on Rainier Avenue South.
The event is in response to the big box store’s attempt to “silence and retaliate against workers” who requested improved working conditions, according to a press release from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).
Wednesday Renton event, which lasted about an hours from 9-10 a.m. took place mostly outside the store; however, a few activist ventured inside to share their message with Walmart employees, which are called “associates.”
“All in all we had a really good reception,” said Anh Tran who identified with the group “Socialist Alternative.” “We had a lot of workers seem excited. Their language skills limited them, but they were clearly excited.”
Kshama Sawant, who is also with Socialist Alternative; teaches economics at Seattle Central Community College; and is currently running for the House of Representatives 43rd District, position 2, also spoke with Walmart associates inside the store before being asked to leave.
“A few of the associated took our fliers,” she said, adding “It was clearly noticeable that there were far more managers than workers in the store today.”
Activists ended their demonstration by marching — en masse — from the front entrance to the customer service desk.
Organizers estimate about 30 people attended the demonstration, none of whom worked for Walmart. The activists identified with Socialist Alternative, Occupy Seattle, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and the Alliance for Retired Americans, among other groups.
Elena Perez, a coordinator for Making Change Walmart Puget Sound Coalition, told Patch that one Renton Walmart associate was currently in Bentonville, Arkansas to attend the company’s annual shareholder meeting. Perez did not attend this morning's Renton demonstration.
Store managers declined to comment on this morning’s activities; however, they did provide a number for the Walmart corporate office. Patch has filed a media request and will update this story if we receive any new information.