The much-vaunted strikes and protests targeting Wal-Mart during last week’s Black Friday failed to live up to union expectations, with few employees striking against the big-box retailer.
OUR Walmart, a “worker center” with extensive ties to the powerful United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), promised protests at 1,500 separate Wal-Mart locations and hundreds, if not thousands, of striking workers pushing for higher wages.
But the union sought to lessen the strike’s expectations as early as last Wednesday. “[OUR Walmart] has been downplaying the number of strikers,” wrote MSNBC’s Ned Resnikoff, “and instead emphasizing the support it enjoys from organizations like Color of Change and MoveOn.org.”
Reports on the Friday pickets emphasized protester arrests — 110, by most counts — but most only mentioned a handful of Wal-Mart employee participants. OUR Walmart has yet to announce their employee estimates, but a Wal-Mart spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation that just 20 of their workers participated in the protests. According to the company, not one walked off the job.
OUR Walmart managed to fall short in the number of protests, as well. Justin Wilson from the Center for Union Facts told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Wal-Marts being picketed were “hard to find.”
“They said there were going to be 1,500 protests,” he claimed, “but when you went to the union’s website there were only 200 protest locations listed. … How on earth are you expecting to increase that sevenfold?”
Wilson said the protests prove OUR Walmart has a tough road ahead. “In order to unionize Wal-Mart, they need to find 700,000 workers that are willing to vote yes during an organizing election,” he explained.
“If their benchmark of success is finding 100 people — most of whom are not actually Wal-Mart employees — to get arrested, I think that ‘abysmal failure’ does a disservice to how much the unions have failed at actually finding real, honest-to-goodness Wal-Mart employees who want to join a union.”
OUR Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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