Where Are the Walmart Protests?

Photo (cc) by Walmart Corporate

Walmart employees have threatened for weeks to strike on Black Friday – and it could’ve been a big deal, given the number of employees and the demand for deals. The Daily Beast covers what actually happened, though…

About 10 picketers stood outside a Mobile Walmart Thursday night to show support for all Walmart employees struggling for better pay and working conditions. . . . The protesters, almost all of which were with the Mobile Socialist Alternative, the local branch of the national Socialist Alternative group, said they were supposed to be joined by Walmart workers that had planned to walk out, but none had showed up.

“The protest organizers have declined to say how many Wal- Mart associates they expect to be involved in the latest round of actions” says Bloomberg, and while the OurWalmart homepage feed contains lots of pictures of protest groups, there don’t seem to be a lot of actual Walmart employees. In fact, several rather wisful items champion single employees who have walked out of scattered stores. The company estimates that fewer than 50 actual Walmart employees participated, and though of course they have an incentive to undercount, OurWalmart has not given any particular reason to disbelieve them.

In any sufficiently large group, you can find a few people who will do anything. And 1.4 million [employees] is a very large group.

The biggest one may have been in Los Angeles, judging by NBC coverage. But even there it’s not clear how many were employees.

The protest was supposedly over low wages. The average pay of Walmart workers is below $12 an hour, according to the article, and many of them rely on government subsidies including Medicaid and food stamps.

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