"I was the guy holding Marissa's face," said Dominic Ware. He was part of the widely-covered protest last night that interrupted Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's conversation with Marc Benioff at Saleforce's Dreamforce conference at the Moscone Center. Although the demonstration garnered significant media attention, little of the conversation has touched on the demands of the protestors. So we called Ware to find out his side of the story.
"A lot of people don't even know that Mayer is on the Walmart board of directors," said Ware, an Oakland native who claims he was recently fired from his job at Walmart's San Leandro store, where he worked as a cashier, bagger, and purchaser. Ware recently took part in a 14-day strike against the non-unionized retailer, an action for which he says he was illegally let go. "We're asking for an end to retaliation and intimidation," he said, "and eventually better pay and healthcare."
Ware is part of a union-backed push for better working conditions and compensation at Walmart, the world's largest private employer, that includes groups like OUR Walmart. Mayer has reportedly turned down offers to meet with Walmart employees to discuss their concerns.
Despite the large crowd, Ware said he wasn't nervous before the interruption. "I was pumped," he says. "The security was a little rough, but we weren't arrested. We were peaceful." Ware says that the next round of actions are planned for Black Friday.
Ware says he made $8.65 an hour and worked 16 to 22 hours a week when he was fired. By comparison, for her first year on the Walmart Board of Directors, Mayer received $219,994 in cash and stock compensation.