Black Eye Friday for Walmart Protesters?

Written by Nancy LaRoche.

It wasn’t for lack of trying: the call to protest Wal-Mart via social media and email went out to activists:

SEIU Local 26:

CTUL members and retail cleaning workers are organizing a Black Friday joint action with local striking Walmart workers. Please Join us in support of fair wages and working conditions for all low wage workers, standing in solidarity with  Walmart workers and demanding the rights of retail cleaning workers throughout the Twin Cities!

CTUL Black Friday Action:

11am at the Walmart in St. Paul (1450 University Avenue West), immediately afterwards we will caravan together to a CTUL action demanding justice for retail cleaning workers.

How did they fare? According to KSTP:


The crowd of more than one hundred was made up of many retail cleaning workers with The Center of Workers United in Struggle (CTUL) and members of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). About five protesters work at Walmart stores in the Twin Cities metro.

The overwhelming majority of the protesters were union workers, not Wal-Mart employees. Nationwide, it reported than less than 50 employees walked off the job, and Wal-Mart proclaimed its best Black Friday ever.

Another effort to bully workers and the store into unionizing has failed again.

In response to planned union protests, [Wal-Mart U.S. President Bill] Simon added, “Only 26 protests occurred at stores last night and many of them did not include any Walmart associates.”

In addition, the company did not experience the walk-offs that were promised by the union. “We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide. In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year,” Simon said.

Did the recent Hostess closing hurt Black Friday union efforts? Perhaps, but in a nutshell people need jobs, and consumers need good deals in a struggling economy.  The real question is if workers wooed for union membership want their dues going into recruiting efforts masked as silly protests, or opt to represent themselves and keep more of their pay. The latter seems to be the answer, but it won’t stop SEIU and CTUL from trying to grow their numbers and dues bankroll. Their attempt to recruit on Black Friday looks like another battle fail on their war against greedy capitalists. But does the greed lie with unions, too? This comment on KSTP is telling:

I think it's kinda cute that this union isn't telling people the REAL reason they want the Walmart workers. That particular unions pensions are 55 to 65% unfunded. They need the $$ from all those paychecks. What a ponzi scheme.