Local labor union members and opponents of Wal-Mart’s entry into the
District are organizing a flash mob protest of the retail giant this evening Oct. 20 and encouraging protesters from the Occupy D.C. movement to join.
An e-mail newsletter sent from the Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO this morning asked recipients and members of the Wal-Mart protest group Respect D.C. to gather at McPherson Square at 5:30 this evening to participate in a “surprise action” against the retailer.
“Occupy DC and Respect DC are collaborating on the action to demand that the big-box retail giant respect the ‘99 percent’ majority and be accountable to local communities in DC,” the e-mail continued.
Mackenzie Baris, lead organizer for DC Jobs With Justice, which has coordinated with unions and Respect D.C. to oppose Wal-Mart’s plans to open District stores, said the groups planned a “flash mob-type” action but declined to provide further details of where or when it would take place.
“We’re not telling people what the action actually is until they actually come,” she said.
But Baris added members of the two groups shared many of the same goals, “with Occupy D.C. supporting Respect D.C.’s general demands of Wal-Mart and our connection with Occupy D.C.’s argument about the 99 percent.”
In July, Respect D.C. held a flash mob at the Laurel Wal-Mart, in which protestors sang and played music in the aisles. The YouTube video has been viewed almost 125,000 times.
An AFL-CIO spokesman declined to comment.
Wal-Mart officials have said the four stores they plan to open in D.C. will bring fresh groceries, tax revenue and 1,200 jobs to the city. The company recently signed its first lease in the city, for a store on Georgia Avenue Northwest.