BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Fifteen protesters who were calling on Walmart to offer better wages to its workers were arrested outside the Factoria Walmart in Bellevue Friday when they refused to get out of a street when ordered.
Authorities said about 100 protesters had turned out for the organized demonstration. The 15 were arrested by Bellevue police for refusing to get out of the middle of a street, where protesters were speaking from a soapbox.
Casey Hoag, a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers union, said this demonstration was among 1,500 protests across the nation against Walmart on Black Friday -- the busiest shopping day fo the year.
Hoag said Walmart workers and others were calling on Walmart to end alleged retaliation and to commit to improving labor standards, including providing workers with more full-time work and at least $25,000 a year.
“Walmart's treatment of their workers is nothing short of exploitation,” Richard Burton, a nurse in the Seattle area, said in a news release. “I got arrested today because what Walmart is doing to its workers hurts our entire community. The company makes $17 billion in profits, yet continues to pay workers poverty wages. It’s not smart, and it’s not right. Walmart must change. I would do anything to help Walmart workers.”