Several protesters at a march Wednesday at Cargill in Dayton were arrested for trespassing when they tried to deliver a petition in support of workers they say were fired by the company for exercising their rights to organize. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.
Among the nine arrested were an 82 year-old, a young seminary student, and Michael Snell-Feikema, a coordinator for the Community Solidarity with Poultry Workers group in Harrisonburg.
According to Snell-Feikema, several dozen people had gathered on public ground outside of the Cargill plant in Dayton, in part to commemorate the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination.
MICHAEL SNELL-FEIKEMA: What King was doing in Memphis has so much in common with this situation here with the poultry workers.
The group also had a petition for Cargill, calling for it to reinstate three fired union supporters and to “desist all retaliation” against such workers. When some of the group entered Cargill property to deliver that petition even after being told not to, they were arrested and charged with class 1 misdemeanors [for “trespassing after being forbidden not to by an authorized individual”]. They were later released.
Snell-Feikema’s concerns extend to the government agencies responsible for protecting workers.
SNELL-FEIKEMA: When it comes to Cargill private property, bang, the law is down there right now. But workers can be not getting the treatment they deserve – that can go on for years and years and years, and there’s no notice taken.
Cargill in a statement last night denied having fired three employees for their union organizing efforts and said protests must be conducted “legally and ethically.”