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Walmart strikers in Duarte, California, on Black Friday 2012.
The competition to frame the Black Friday Walmart protests continues. Walmart, of course, has every reason to minimize the protests and OUR Walmart, the group organizing the protests, has every reason to exaggerate them. Since protests were basically crowd-sourced and ranged from tiny to big, it's probably impossible to determine the truth. No one is claiming that anything but a small fraction of Walmart's massive number of employees took part; on the other hand, it's a new thing that any Walmart employees are protesting, and these terribly underpaid workers do so at the risk of their jobs.

Walmart says it had the most awesomest Black Friday ever (we'll wait for revised sales figures in a couple months to find out the truth there), and there weren't very many protests at all and almost no actual Walmart employees took part: "Wal-Mart said roughly 50 employees participated in the events Thursday and a 'few dozen' took part Friday." (Except that that's not actually a small number in the history of Walmart worker activism—even if we take the company's low-ball number, it's probably the most Walmart workers ever to strike in a 24-hour period prior to 2012.)

But we know Walmart is engaging in serious understatement. A protest in Dallas reportedly involved 40 workers; one in Miami involved 70 workers. Already that's the number Walmart wants you to believe participated across the entire country. Add to that the 17 in Paramount, California. Diarist Bobbosphere says that in Chicago, "only a few [media] outlets actually quoted Walmart employees who were present," making it harder to know how many turned out. But he found at least four Chicago workers quoted, like:

WGN TV: “They retaliate by black listing us, telling other associates not to associate with us, shortening our working hours, all the way up to termination." —Walmart employee Charmaine Gibens Thomas.

There were strikers in Duarte, California, and in the Washington, DC, area, and even one guy in Oklahoma who hadn't planned to strike until a captive audience meeting held by his store's management to scare workers out of protesting changed his mind. Small numbers of workers, but more than Walmart wants us to believe existed, and each one of them an act of courage unimaginable for most of us. These are people who can't afford to lose their jobs, but they risked that for justice.

Of course protests drew more significant numbers of worker allies—it's a hell of a lot easier to protest when you don't run the risk of being fired for it. Walmart wants to downplay those numbers, too, but nearly 1,000 people rallied in Paramount, California, where nine—including three workers—were arrested for blocking the street during the peaceful event. There were around 400 rallying in one Maryland location and 200 in St. Paul, Minnesota. And so on.

Context matters. Walmart wants us to think of the context of its vast numbers of employees who didn't strike. That's a real context. But so is the fact that history was made in October when Walmart workers staged a rolling series of one-day strikes, the first such strikes in Walmart's 50-year history. The Black Friday actions made history again, and they made it bigger. The question is whether this is the peak of worker activism at Walmart, or just the beginning.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:14 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As the job market strengthens the bargaining (53+ / 0-)

    position of Wal Mart employees improves. And these jobs cannot be outsourced.

    Unionize Wal Mart and the entire American economy changes for the better.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:17:47 AM PST

  •  The Revolution... (19+ / 0-)

    will not be acknowledged by management.

    In a way, I see almost every corporate statement as a statement by this guy.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:20:08 AM PST

  •  I think it's important for this effort (16+ / 0-)

    to emphasize that the rights they are fighting for are the very rights denied to those dozens of Wal-mart contracted workers who died in the Bangladesh factory fire over the Black Friday weekend.  The stories are opposite sides of the same coin.

    "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

    by Mogolori on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:34:16 AM PST

  •  My eyes lingered over the following (32+ / 0-)

    words, which the diarist intended as an anecdotal aside:

    ...and even one guy in Oklahoma who hadn't planned to strike until a captive audience meeting held by his store's management to scare workers out of protesting changed his mind.
    Back that one up and let it re-play, as many times as you need to: It's big.

    Workers of whatever kind, are smart enough to know when they aren't being treated well. If you try to snow them, they will take offense; it will backfire.

    Folks, their continued misreading of worker psychology is nothing less than the linchpin of our success.

    Thanks so much for the good reporting.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:34:24 AM PST

    •  Low income Republicans (11+ / 0-)

      are stating to wake up

      .... to how they are being used.

      If cats could blog, they wouldn't

      by crystal eyes on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:53:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This Thanksgiving with my parents (19+ / 0-)

        We got dangerously close to arguing politics. We were checking the weather at the NWS website, and my mom said "Wow, look at all this information they put out!" I grinned at her and said "stupid government." She laughed, and then I told her how private corporate interests were hacked with the government for providing the information so useful to farmers and others instead of selling it to the public through AccuWeather and the like.

        Then, a few minutes later, after the conversation had shifted a bit, I casually mentioned that the top marginal income tax rates back in the 50s, the good ol' Ozzie N Harriet days of America under I Like Ike, were upwards of 90 percent, and my mom looked at me like I had a third eye and called me crazy.

        Then she googled it. And she was THERE. Yes, she was a young girl, 11 in 1960, but living during those times. Telling me I need to get my news from more reliable sources.

        I think my stepdad knew I was right, but she read it aloud and they both seemed as if they were being confronted with this fact for the first time. She went on to detail how the rate dropped, occasionally, through Reagan and Clinton, and then under Bush, the bottom dropped out. The reason for our currently "broke" government, suddenly choked of what little revenue flow it still had and saddled with two off-budget wars and an off-budget Medicare expansion, became clearer by the minute. It was as if a light came on.

        My mom. Always telling me how smart I am and how I research things out for fun...until it comes to challenging her FOXNEWS-fueled anti-government views.

        The problem with the American electorate is easily sourced to the right wing noise machine. It has carefully misled, misrepresented and misguided a vast number of thinking people for nearly 30 years, doubling down in the last four. Every little thing you can do to point out where they've been victimized helps them discover the truth. It is essential that we continue to speak up in an age driven largely by those with a vested interest in blurring the very idea of objective truth.

        -5.38 -4.72 T. Atlas shrugged. Jesus wept.

        by trevzb on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:12:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I daresay that it is not thinking people who have (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aunt Pat, trevzb, karmsy, GreenMother

          been "out-Foxed" but those who lack critical thinking skills.  Their reasoning is that if they are watching the "news" on Fox, it is like any other news source -- in that, because it has "news" in the title, there would only be facts involved.

          -9.88, -7.44 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

          by wordene on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:29:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe it is worth going home now and then (5+ / 0-)
          Then she googled it. And she was THERE. Yes, she was a young girl, 11 in 1960, but living during those times. Telling me I need to get my news from more reliable sources.

          I think my stepdad knew I was right, but she read it aloud and they both seemed as if they were being confronted with this fact for the first time. She went on to detail how the rate dropped ...

          There are relatives I'd rather not expose the kids to. They don't present any immediate danger that I know of, or even suspect. It's just that they have Foxs News on in their house most of the time. In addition to the misinformation, there's the willing tolerance of misinformation. Plus, I wonder what other social dinosaurisms they might catch.

          On the other hand, your story does give some hope that some milder cases of conservative brainwashing might be arrested or even reversed. On balance, maybe it's worth it to visit now and then.

          Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

          by chimpy on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:31:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly," those with a vested interest in blurring (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aunt Pat, CherryTheTart, karmsy, Randtntx

          the very idea of objective truth".
          On Friday morning,at @7:00 am EST,a headline on Fox News was all about how few Walmart workers had participated in the Black Friday strike. Since Walmart doesn't have a time machine,they were obviously working hard at pre-emptively setting the narrative. Winds of change are beginning to form and Walmart knows it. This is a good time to write a letter to the editor about how Walmart's business practices cost every taxpayer money whether you shop there or not.

          "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

          by tardis10 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:35:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  In the last election, 60% of (6+ / 0-)

        self-identified "white" voters voted for Mitt Romney. That statistic staggers me.

        Things get just a little up-close and personal for even a fraction of these people--like working full-time and still needing to choose between buying Pampers, and being able to afford gasoline--that proportion of Republican voters may just go down.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:14:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's an important story (6+ / 0-)

      because it shows in part that there's a lot of dissatisfaction among Walmart workers that's mostly not being expressed, but can emerge given a nudge—even an inadvertent nudge from management!

      •  i just started at a new job- (4+ / 0-)

        i left a good paying union job to start at a non union job. same industry, and the exact same job- just in a different town and different company.

        anyway, i'm careful to not act like too much of an activist just yet. hopefully in the not too distant future i'll be useful when it looks like an effort to unionize will be possible. i don't initiate any conversation about unions. i answer every question people ask me about where i used to work, what i made, etc.

        on one of our breaks, one of my coworkers mentioned going to walmart a few days before thanksgiving. she wished the cashier a happy thanksgiving, and the cashier said maybe for you, but not for me. i have to work on thanksgiving.

        she was surprised the cashier complained to her. i hope that cashier said that to every single shopper who wished her a happy thanksgiving. i really do. i told them i was going to the protest. if my coworker hadn't mentioned what the cashier said, i probably wouldn't have said anything.

        "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

        by thankgodforairamerica on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:08:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Substitute voter for worker (0+ / 0-)

      and you could be talking about the election.

  •  The large presence of carpetbaggers (0+ / 0-)

    ...makes it more political stunt/theater than a grass-roots labor movement of Walmart employees. MoveOn, Occupy, etc. are there to save the workers from themselves.

    •  Deprivation of employment is not a direct (6+ / 0-)

      threat to life. That's what makes abuse different from aggression. There's no defense for the victim, since the goal is to injure and, in risking further injury, the victim, in effect, does the abuser's dirty work for him. That's why abuse requires an intervention from outside.
      Indeed, I would argue that abuse is what we assemble government force to address.  
      It is to be regretted that in the U.S. authority seems more focused on death and, as often as not, gives abuse a pass. Indeed, in the interest of collecting information, even torture has been justified and agents of law enforcement get away with killing on a regular basis, whenever they can claim to be afraid.
      There's an epidemic of spouse abuse, child abuse, migrant abuse, sex abuse and the abuse of workers. The gospel of independence promotes that by arguing that nobody need get involved.

      We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:59:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Carpetbaggers? (7+ / 0-)

      So there shouldn't be any such thing as solidarity?

      Workers whose livelihoods are impacted by Walmart driving down wages across the retail industry should just shut up about it?

      •  It would be far better (0+ / 0-)

        ...that this came from the bottom up at Walmart, but as it turns out, not many of the workers there are asking to be saved.

        Beyond "let's you and him fight" efforts there are many ways to effectively work in solidarity with unions, such as the SB5 repeal in Ohio last year, electing pro-labor politicians, etc. IMO, coming off the recent election victories and making Walmart a lightning rod is off-key.

        Consider that a Nov. 19 email from David Plouffe to the mailing list says, "And leaders ranging from the heads of labor unions to the CEO of Walmart are saying that it doesn't make sense to drag [the budget negotiations] out and leave the middle class uncertain about what they'll be asked to pay in taxes."

        Bill Clinton in the final days of the campaign was talking about said CEO favorably.

        I clicked on one of your links above that referenced 17 actual Walmart employees who walked out, but the article says that nearly 1,000 people were involved in the protest, chanting Occupy tropes about the 99% and so on. The article says that at many stores it was only outside protesters.

  •  Walmarts heavy-handed response says a lot. (8+ / 0-)

    It will backfire.

  •  I think Walmart would close their doors (5+ / 0-)

    before they'd allow unions but the pressure might force them to make changes in an effort to stave off future strikes.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:56:37 AM PST

    •  They've certainly done that at one Canadian (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer, gerrilea, chimpy


      However, it is my understanding that in Europe they have the equivalent of a unionized workforce if it isn't actually "unionized."

    •  Let them close their doors (9+ / 0-)

      and a massive amount of smaller stores (like the ones they ran out of business) will open to fill the void.

      •  However, those smaller... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sceptical observer

        ...stores would charge higher prices and generally offer a narrower selection of products.

        That's why consumers stopped shopping at them in the first place and went to Walmart instead.

        These stores weren't "ran out of business" by Walmart. Consumers decided they valued price over other features, if any, offered by existing small local stores.

        No one is forced to shop at Walmart - esp. when they first open and the small local stores still exist.

        One can argue that consumers don't know what's good for themselves. However that attitude treads a dangerous line because if consumers can't be trusted with economic democracy, can they be trusted with political democracy or should there be some sort of test for both?

        I don't think Walmart will close many stores if their workforce becomes unionized. They will raise their prices, be more selective with hiring (right now, because of their pay and working conditions, they generally don't attract the best employees overall and it shows), reduce labor (expanding self checkout for example), and/or reduce operating hours.

    •  They could close their doors tomorrow, the (4+ / 0-)

      actual owners, the Dukes, have become so wealthy, they could live off the interest on their own individual billions, forever.

      Chart: 6 Walmart Heirs Hold More Wealth Than 42% of Americans Combined

      As Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Insitute points out, the six Walmart heirs now have more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of Americans combined, up from 30 percent in 2007. Between 2007 and 2010, the collective wealth of the six richest Waltons rose from $73 billion to $90 billion, while the wealth of the average American declined from $126,000 to $77,000 (13 million Americans have negative net worth). Here's a chart of how many average Americans it has taken over time to equal the wealth of the Waltons:
      Does anyone really think they care about those that actually made them so wealthy?

      I know I don't.

      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:15:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Be careful not to play with termonology (5+ / 0-)

    It's easy to throw out terms like "historic" or "successful" (on the side of the protesters) or "meaningless" or "no effect" (on Wal-Mart's side) when there is no measuring stick.  That's why facts and information matter.

    First, there is the question of the number of Wal-Mart employees who participated in a "strike"or "walk out" -- i.e., they were scheduled to come in but did not specifically so as to participate in the protests.  That depends on the number of employees who were scheduled to come in to work during that time and did not come in.  You only get that number through Wal-Mart employee records for that day -- that's not a number you get by randomly questioning the people holding signs. That's a number I think would be significant -- how many Wal-Mart employees felt strongly enough about the principles involved to do something even moderately risky?

    Second, there is the question of how many Wal-Mart employees who were NOT scheduled for work during the protest walks participated.  That is perhaps less significant than category 1, because these people are not directly risking anything by walking with the protest.  As far as I am aware, Wal-Mart did not go to those protests and take down the names of everybody walking so it could cross-check those against employee lists. I suspect those numbers are going to be fuzzy on both sides.  

    Third, there is the question of how many people walked in the protests.  Again, I find this question less significant than the first two.  Wal-Mart doesn't much care what other people think of its employment practices as long as (1) they can get the number of employees they want; and (2) it doesn't affect sales.

    Fourth, there is the question of whether the protests affected Wal-Mart's bottom line.  From what I've seen, overall sales were up from last year across the board.  I would be interested to see if that holds true when you specifically compare those stores which had people walking against those stores that didn't.  If there's no statistically significant disparity, then no the protests did not have much effect.  On the other hand, if, for example, the stores with protests consistently did not see that increase over last year while stores without protests did, that means the protests affected Wal-Mart's bottom line.  

    Fifth, it might make a difference if the protests changed some attitudes.  People who previously denounced Wal-Mart's employment practices did not change their minds because of this, of course.  The more significant question is whether people who did not previously denounce Wal-Mart's employment practices have now experienced some change in opinion.  If that happened in some statistically significant way, you could term the protests "historic" or "successful" on that basis.   If it did not happen, well, not so much.  

    You really need information to decide how "successful" something like this is.  As of now, both sides are kind of meaninglessly patting themselves on the back, I think.

    •  But Walmart can't have it both ways. Even if they (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, rhauenstein

      claim the protests had no effect and that this was their best black Friday ever, why are they refusing to reward the people who played the biggest part in that success -- their workers?

      •  That's an indictment of Wal-Mart's employee (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, VClib, Joe Bob

        practices generally, which is fine -- they are subject to lots of that, especially at sites like this.  

        But it's not an inconsistency on Wal-Mart's part.  Wal-Mart has never, as far as I know, based its compensation of employees on its sales success (unless you are talking about employees working on commission, in which case they would benefit some from those increased sales).  

        Wal-Mart has had a pretty consistent employee policy.  That's not to say it's GOOD -- it's just consistent:  its goal has always been to keep its costs (including employee compensation) as low as possible so that it could sell things as cheaply as possible, undercutting competition.  That has always been its business model.  

      •  Miggles - no employer would ever increase (0+ / 0-)

        compensation based on a single day's results. People who work on commission make more on days with high sales, but that's the compensation system working, not changing.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:34:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your concern is noted, but (0+ / 0-)

      "historic" is accurate when you're talking about the most people ever to take an action, which all the available evidence suggests is the case here, just a month after the previous most people ever took that action.

      And I find it interesting you put "successful" in quotes when it's a word used nowhere in the post you're ostensibly responding to.

      •  I wasn't just speaking about your post (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, president raygun

        I was commenting generally about words I've heard describing the event.  But, with respect to your post, I think that your use of the word "historic" is premature.  

        If that's all "historic" means -- the most people ever to take part -- that's a pretty low bar.  After all, if 10 people take part in protest A, and 20 people take part in protest B, that's "historic."  I would save terms like "historic" for situations where they are not only more than before, but are significant when taken in context.  If you are targeting 1 million employees, and you get 5 in protest 1 and 10 in protest 2, that makes protest 2 "historic" in the sense that it was more people than ever before.  But I wouldn't use the adjective "historic" to describe that, because in context it's still a very low number.  On the other hand, if you are targeting 1 million employees, and you get 100,000 in protest 1, and 250,000 in protest 2, I WOULD call that "historic" because not only is it more than before, but the number, in context, becomes significant in that it's enough to make an impact.  

        In other words, I don't use the term "historic" in the sense of breaking some prior numbers record.  That's simply breaking a record for the number of people who turned out.  "Historic" to me means something more -- that the event also has such significance when taken in context that, years from now, it will be recognized as a significant event in the relationship between employer and employee, or at least in between Wal-Mart and it's employees.  After all, historic means  "what is important in history" which to me means that, when people look back on it, it will signify some societal change, movement, or turning point. That's why I equated it with successful -- the point was to make a difference, change things, affect things (even if it's affecting the attitude of people who didn't support you before).  That's what would make it "successful" -- and if it were successful, it could also be considered "historic."  If it doesn't succeed in any of those goals, I'd be hard pressed to call it "historic."  

        We do know that the numbers were higher than before.  However, in my view, we don't yet know (without more information) whether it was "historic" or not.  

    •  I agree it was stressed again and again (0+ / 0-)

      we're a reality based community. By any measure the strike was not a success. Even on labor friendly sites I'm seeing numbers in the 50's for the entire U.S. 50 workers walking out can't even cripple a single mega center.  There didn't seem to be popular sympathy either as Black Friday numbers were record setting. I agree totally with the objective of the protestors and that Walmart does underpay and underinsure, if at all, their workers. But trumpetting this as some huge win and/or movement just flies in the face of facts and makes us look silly.

      The GOP believe in redistribution of wealth, as long as it's from the many to the few.

      by president raygun on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:33:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The "retribution" stage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant, tardis10

    will bring out even more - as otherwise friendly managers are fired or reassigned - and they begin their full blown propaganda and intimidation operation.

    Maybe not "white shirts" with baseball bats - but they'll try everything up to it.

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:20:43 AM PST

  •  A friend on facebook who is a small business (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    July4rocks, tardis10

    owner and anti-union posted a link to an article about the Walmart protests with a statement about how the protestors were trying to shutdown the stores.

    When I replied that there were some warehouses where shipping was being delayed, most all of the stores were stocked for Black Friday and while the Oakland port had been shutdown by union workers and protestors, in WalMart's case, the workers were not blockading the stores but were merely ensuring that shoppers knew of their plight.

    After looking closer at the article he linked to, he commented that I was correct and this was not an example of union excess. He is an intelligent man and honest and fair. He does acknowledge the role of unions in our society and business environments. He takes issue with the same excesses some of us supporters would also wish into nonexistence, and my friend is also very outspoken about corporate greed and misconduct, unlike some of my other friends that march in time with the conservative, pro-all-things-business drum. Most of those are also small business owners/operators who don't look deeper than talking points and adhere to the political message more than the fiscal reality.

    I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

    by Gentle Giant on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:25:11 AM PST

  •  picket lines (0+ / 0-)

    When I grew up in the 1950s, I was told never to cross a picket line--it was disrespectful of those people on the line.  Somehow, Americans forgot this--especially when AFL/CIO workers crossed PATCO's lines.  And that disrespect has been the death knell of the union movement--and the beginning of the slide out of middle class.
    Tech workers today are mostly not unionized--thinking they're different and don't need unions.  As grandma used to say, "some people are smart, and smart, and stupid."   They should look at what happened to pilots and stewardesses after the fall of PATCO.
    Hopefully, unions return in favor without resorting to violence-- but I doubt it.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:25:38 AM PST

  •  There may well be a Norma Rae in there. nt (0+ / 0-)

    Fuck Big Brother...from now on, WE'RE watching.

    by franklyn on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:26:55 AM PST

  •  Didn't see any protesters at the Wal-Mart stores (0+ / 0-)

    I went by -- including one I went into.

    I assume that stores were chosen strategically?
    Maybe more workers at fewer stores for safety in numbers?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:26:55 AM PST

  •  i hope we gave the workers encouragement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    if i weren't brave enough to walk out or protest, i think it would make me feel good to look outside and see people standing up for me.

    the walmart i was at friday didn't have, as far as i know, any employee participation. security, managers, and local police were outside though.

    "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

    by thankgodforairamerica on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:27:57 AM PST

  •  Are employees protected in these actions? (0+ / 0-)

    My understanding is that the labor laws do not provide any kind of protection for strikes that are conducted without union representation.  That would make employees vulnerable to bein fired.

    Mind you, losing a Wal-Mart job probably isn't the end of the world.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:28:58 AM PST

    •  Mind you, losing a Wal-Mart job probably isn't ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl

      the end of the world...?
      Really? Let's see, family to feed, rent or mortgage, car and gas to get to work, other needs. No other options to Walmart...
      What does the end of the world look like to you?

      •  Depends on where you are, but, in many places, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        comparable jobs should be relatively easy to find.

        Makes sense, right?
        Bad jobs that pay poorly are easier to replace than good jobs that pay well.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:21:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  technically (0+ / 0-)

      The workers were striking over unfair labor practices, and cannot be fired for striking.  We'll see if Walmart cans any workers for not showing up and it ends up at the NLRB.

  •  Nothing historic here at all. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    None of it means squat unless the employees step forward and unionize.

    Please keep it all in perspective.
    Nothing has changed and nothing will change as a result of the few scattered protests.

    Enagaged activism wins elections. 100 million words on liberal/progressive websites gets beat by one new GOP voter casting their vote.

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:53:51 AM PST

    •  Disagree (0+ / 0-)

      Walmart workers are seeing that some of their fellow workers went on strike for a day and didn't get fired. That is a real educational eye-opener, more than days worth of pro-union discussion.

      •  I know (0+ / 0-)

        other WalMart workers saw workers "protest" (not strike).

        Stop over-amplifying what the case is.

        I want WalMart workers to unionized but there's a long way to go from here.

        You can disagree with me but there's nothing "historical" that happened last Friday.
        WalMart reported record Black Friday sales... business as usual.

        Enagaged activism wins elections. 100 million words on liberal/progressive websites gets beat by one new GOP voter casting their vote.

        by Nebraska68847Dem on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:16:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  any worker (0+ / 0-)

          who missed work, and didn't get fired, was a striker. If you stand outside with a sign on your day off, that's a protest. At any rate, if Walmart doesn't retaliate, workers gain strength.

          If you asked workers last week, they'd probably tell you  anyone who struck (or protested) would be swiftly fired.

          But they weren't.  That's a step forward.

          Oh, I want Walmart unionized too, and I hurt inside, thinking of what a long way we have to go.

          If 14,000 Walmart workers had struck, that would have been only 1% of their work force. So we are at what, .01% struck?

          But my 1930s labor history books tell me that a small minority of workers led the great auto sit down strikes.  In some plants, the small minority just get beat up. In others, well ....

  •  Crowd sourcing data (0+ / 0-)

    From the clerk's lips to our community: "The crowds weren't bad at all Friday." Translation: some significant fraction of potential consumers opted for some other store to support the Walmart workers.

  •  Charleston, SC (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhauenstein, DSPS owl, murphthesurf

    We had 34 allies at a Protest at the Tanger Outlet in N. Charleston.  We were covered by local press and TV. Before, during and after the event.

    There was a small protest in the afternoon at the Folly Road Walmart with a handful of people in Charleston.

    There was a fair sized demonstration in Spartanburg, SC with strong union allies support.

    Given our Governor's intense hostility towards unions, we never expected any Walmart "associates" to come out and run the risk of having their children starve.  This is all about a much bigger problem than Walmart and based on the reaction we got from the public, even the public shopping at Walmart, the relentless attack on the middle class is deeply resented even here in conservative SC.  A company which destroys American jobs, pays it's employees a pittance and relies on government assistance to support the families of its workers isn't that popular here, even in conservative red SC with Republicans.

    Several people apologized for shopping at Walmart to us Friday, saying they couldn'f afford to shop at a better store.  Hardly the branding the company would want.

    This is a ten year fight against a lot more than just Walmart.  Pace yourself everyone.

    William Hamilton practices Law and is a writer and community activist in the Charleston, SC area. He can reached through

    by wjhamilton29464 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:55:48 AM PST

  •  Informed Walmart Workers (IWW) (0+ / 0-)

    the greatest part of the gain was how much media attention the issue achieved. I really think Walmart workers have to develop a new union model.  At the start, no dues, no going for NLRB recognition, and no outseide organizers.  Instead, at the outset, simply workers associations asking to meet with management.   This has to involve A LOT of stores to work, since doing it with just a few will lead to threats to shut the store.

  •  Organizers will join the Walmart workforce (0+ / 0-)

    they won't be outsiders. Start your career as an organizer with a job at Walmart.

  •  What FDR Said! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    starfu, a2nite, DSPS owl, SpawnOfJerry

    “No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country”

    “It's a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead - and find no one there” ---Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by vmckimmey on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:34:11 AM PST

  •  Walmart could pay a living wage; it choses not to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    (R's) take those tired memes and shove 'em, Denise Velez Oliver, 11/7/2012.

    by a2nite on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:22:04 AM PST

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