Nine protesters arrested outside Cargill in Dayton

Published: Apr. 4, 2018 at 10:41 PM EDT
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A protest outside of Cargill in Dayton on April 4 ended with nine people arrested.

The protesters seemed in good spirits after they were released from Rockingham County Regional Jail in the afternoon.

They say they were just hoping for a conversation about the treatment of some employees.

At first, the protesters say they were on a public space outside of Cargill.

They told WHSV they were trying to deliver a petition to management, but Cargill changed their minds and refused to meet with them. However, Cargill denies that any meeting was ever planned.

That's when the group moved onto Cargill's parking lot and police took action, arresting nine people who police say violated a criminal code.

"Actually, we were pretty happy. It proved the point," said one protester.

"It was just the wrong thing to do, just absolutely un-American to take people who are trying to give their point of view to a company and say 'Oh no, we're for the company and you can't go in'," said Judith Wright.

Dayton Police say the group was warned before any arrests were made.

WHSV reached out to Cargill for a statement about the protest and if there was a meeting planned. On Thursday morning, the company provided the following statement in response:

There is a great deal of misinformation and confusion circulating around today’s events. We would like to clarify with what we know at this time: First, there are claims that Cargill fired three employees for their efforts to organize a union. While we can’t share specific information about personnel matters, we can confirm that Cargill does not fire anyone for their union beliefs or for participation in a Union. Our Statement on Human Rights clearly states that Cargill follows the National Labor Relations Act, respecting freedom of association and the right to collectively bargain, enabling employees to join a union and voluntarily negotiate. We respect the rights and freedoms of our employees to either choose or not choose union representation as the law allows. In fact, there are dozens of unions who represent Cargill employees at facilities across the country. Secondly, it is our understanding that several protestors at the facility were arrested by the Dayton Police Department. While we fully support the right to protest, it must be done legally and ethically. Any questions or concerns related to the arrests should be raised with the police department. Thirdly, protest organizers are claiming that protestors had a meeting scheduled with Cargill leadership, who then backed out of the meeting. We can confirm that no meeting with management was scheduled.