National Anti-Walmart Black Friday Protests Attract Fewer Than 50 Actual Walmart Employees

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This holiday season there’s been a significant amount of backlash from some quarters over the retail industry’s efforts to market their “black friday” sales. And while the encroachment on holiday friend-and-family time is certain driving consternation from some, big labor’s efforts to glom leverage those feelings into backlash against Walmart, specifically, seems to have been a colossal flop.

Walmart notes that there were protests at just 26 of their roughly 1,000 national locations, and those protests included roughly 50 actual Walmart employees in total:

The National Labor Relations Board said Friday that due to the ‘complex’ legal issue, it will issue a ruling next week on Walmart’s request for an injunction against union-backed worker protests at store locations on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday.

But while the NLRB considers the request, the world’s largest retailer called this year’s Black Friday a success even though union-backed protests broke out at some locations over worker conditions and wages. …

Walmart said in a statement Friday that stores saw larger crowds then last year. The company also downplayed the number of protests and called it a “union-funded publicity stunt.”

“Only 26 protests occurred at stores last night and many of them did not include any Walmart associates,” the store said in a statement. It estimated that less than 50 associates participated in the protests.

That the unions attract so few actual Walmart employees to their cause, despite their ceaseless organizing and media campaigns, might speak to just how satisfied most Walmart employees are. I suspect that a lot of Walmart employees are either a) not seeing their jobs at Walmart as careers but rather employment stepping stones while in college or similar situation or b) perfectly satisfied with the work rules and compensation levels they’re already getting from Walmart.

There’s no conspiracy against the unions and their efforts to unionize Walmart. What’s working against the unions is that the Walmart workers themselves just don’t seem all that interested in unionizing.

Not that the unions don’t think they’re entitled to those dues anyway.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Harold

    My wife took a part-time job at Wal Mart some years ago, she had a full time job when she started there and the agreement was she would work 20 hours per week after she got off of work from her 40 hour per week job. Wal mart kept there word about 20 hours for about a week and then tried to force her to work more hours and I think tried to undermine her from her 40 per hour week job. Didn’t work she was forced to quit but from that short time being employed there she learned that Wal Mart treated their employee’s with no respect. Hence I support any Wal Mart worker when they strike or have a work stoppage, that company has a dismal record of how workers are viewed and treated by that company.

    • Brett Buck

      The entire point of the article was that very very few WalMart workers took part in this, so you would have nothing to support. Almost all the protesters were hired by the union to protest. This had absolutely nothing to do with how the actual employees of WalMart or how they feel about working there.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      This sound suspiciously like an anecdote.

    • Tim Heise

      I worked for a Walmart Distribution Center in Va and it was a great job. I love it. I got paid $16 an hour to lift ice cream all day.

  • stan25

    Walmart has a right to fire those employees that protested, even in a closed shop state. They did so against company policy, hence they are in the wrong. The employees can’t grieve through a union, because there is no union that represents them. I think that those protesters should have been jailed on charges of inciting a riot, disturbing the peace, littering and an illegal demonstration.

  • Don Quixote

    I remember the first potests over Vietnam in 1965. There were only a few people and those looking at them thought they were nuts. Look how that turned out.

    You can not determine what will happen with these Union protests against Walmart at this point. Only time will tell.

    I don’t expect Walmart to be factual about the number of protests or the number of people participating. They have a vested economic interest in belittling the them.

    I have heard a lot of stories about Walmart and they tend to lead me to believe that they are overbearing and very anti-union. For example, I have a friend whose wife was dying. In the last days of her life, my friend wanted to take time off to be with her in hospice. Walmart refused to let him take time off. When his wife died, they sent flowers.

    I do believe that not all the protesters worked at Walmart. I don’t see that it matters. The question is whether Walmart workers are unhappy enough to band together as a union to air their complaints and seek rectification. If they aren’t, this protest will stay small and insignificant. If they do, Walmart has a problem on their hands.

    Stan, if Walmart fires employees for exercising their right to protest against perceived injustices, aren’t they demonstrating the truthfulness of what the protesters are saying? Since when did company policy become the law? Do we live in a feudal state where the overlord has complete control of his vassels?

    Just remember, if Walmart is going to keep prices low and profits high, someone has pay the piper. They are the suppliers and the Walmart workers.

    • Neiman

      Leave Vietnam out of your calculations, it was hardly that simple, there is no comparisons to be drawn at all to WalMart.

      • http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/ Proof

        I think Eisenhower sent advisers into Wal-Mart back in the fifties… Hope you and yours had a great T-day, Neiman!

    • JustRuss

      If they were protesting on their own time, no problem. If they did not show up for a shift they should get the normal repercussions. If they walked out, fire them.

  • Tim Heise

    I buy all my American Cystal Sugar from Walmart. :)

  • mickey_moussaoui

    23 million Americans are unemployed or under employed. Working at Walmart is hardly a skilled job. In this economy these people are lucky to have a job at all. If you don’t like it…quit. Or, get fired and collect unemployment like most obama voters

  • Rick Olson

    This is a surprise how? Walmart takes a very hard line on any signs of unionization or union sympathizing. Management is under direct orders from head office in Arkansas to clamp down hard and fast on any signs of unionization. Up to and including the termination of those participating in such activity. Walmart is anti-union and don’t you forget it. They’ve gone as far as closing down entire stores where employees dared to sign union cards. Talk about a lockout. A permanent one.

  • US_Protester

    National Protest this December 20, 21, 22, 23 on unemployment.

    Location: All major malls.

    Take up as many parking spaces as possible with your vehicles for several hours.

    Major Mall list:

    1 King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

    2 Mall of America

    3 Aventura Mall

    4 South Coast Plaza

    5 Del Amo Fashion Center

    6 Destiny USA

    7 Sawgrass Mills

    8 The Galleria

    9 Millcreek Mall

    10 Roosevelt Field

    11 Woodfield Mall

    12 Palisades Center

    13 Tysons Corner Center

    14 Plaza Las Américas

    15 South Shore Plaza

    16 Westfield Garden State Plaza

    17 Ala Moana Shopping Center

    18 Lakewood Center

    19 Scottsdale Fashion Square

    20 Oakbrook Center

    21 NorthPark Center

    22 Pittsburgh Mills

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