Well, that was pitiful.
Union-backed groups OUR Walmart and Making Change at Walmart had planned a massive nationwide strike/protest campaign against the retail giant designed specifically to hurt the company on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.
Instead, according to David Tovar, Walmart’s vice president of corporate communications, the company had its “best Black Friday ever” and that, instead of its workers walking off the job en masse, employee absenteeism actually was down 60 percent from last year.
Sure, there were scattered strikes and protests at some Walmart stores on the day after Thanksgiving. But as CNN reported, the protesters numbered in the hundreds, not the thousands upon thousands OUR Walmart had hoped for. And of those who actually did protest, it’s unclear how many were actually Walmart employees and not professional agitators. At one event in the Washington, D.C., area, for example…
…organizers said about 350 people participated, although video of the event showed around 100 participants. Dawn Le, who works for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which backs OUR Walmart, would not say how many of those taking part were Wal-Mart employees.
And according to Walmart spokesman Tovar:
OUR Walmart was unable to recruit more than a small number of associates to participate in these made-for-TV events…Press reports are now exposing what we have said all along — the large majority of protesters aren’t even Walmart workers.
Joel Griffith at Policymic breaks down just how unimpressive the protest numbers actually were:
Consider Walmart employs 2.2 million people in the United States. Protests occurred at only 26 locations Thursday evening. Protests affected less than 1 percent of the more than 4,200 Wal-Mart stores. At one location in Texas, only five of the 60 protesters were even employees. At a protest in Los Angeles, even OUR Wal-Mart admits only 5 percent of the 1,000 protesters are employed by Walmart. Considering the 50 Walmart employees who walked off the job came from nine stores across the LA area, it’s safe to say that less than 1 percent of the thousands employed in these stores walked off the job.
The fizzled Black Friday campaign gives the lie to union claims Walmart employees feel abused or mistreated in large numbers. The fact is many, perhaps most, Walmart workers are thankful for their jobs and aware there are millions of under or unemployed people in this country who would happily fill their uniforms at the drop of a deeply discounted hat.
But if unions and their allies failed to take down Walmart, they at least can console themselves with their recent and not insubstantial victory over Hostess. Walmart may live, but the Twinkie is dead (temporarily, at least).
Take that, Twinkie.