Walmart’s been caught trying to make a top-down social media strategy look like a grassroots action by hundreds of hourly workers—the retail giant is astroturfing, in other words. See, a social media “Thunderclap” lets hundreds of people post to Twitter or Facebook at the same time, increasing the likelihood that a topic will trend or at least start to break through the noise. A Thunderclap touting Black Friday as Walmart’s Super Bowl was identified as being from “a proud associate.” But it turns out that proud associate was Umang Shah, Walmart’s director of social strategy. (more…)
On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that has become one of the biggest days of retail sales in the United States, Walmart workers and other working families are going to rally at the retail giant’s locations around the country, asking the country’s largest employer to pay its workers a living wage and allow them to come together and speak out for change without fear of retaliation.
Find an action near you at www.blackfridayprotests.com.
Despite making profits of $17 billion this year, Walmart pays its workers such low wages—the majority of the company’s employees in the United States make less than $25,000 a year—that taxpayers effectively provide massive subsidies to the company through food stamps and other programs. Additionally, the company is the biggest beneficiary of food stamp payments, taking in some 18% of the program’s outlays each year, or about $14 billion.
by Mike Hall
Walmart workers around the country are mobilizing for a “Black Friday” strike to protest working conditions, wages and retaliation against workers who speak out. Meanwhile workers and their allies at a Walmart warehouse are picketing and rallying today in front of the Riverside County, Calif., facility following Wednesday’s strike by some two dozen warehouse workers.
Walmart store workers are asking people nationwide to support them on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. They ask that supporters take action that spreads the word about their strikes and demonstrates to Walmart a wave of support for workers who are speaking out about poor working conditions, low wages, irregular hours and more.
by Joe Burns
Now that the elections are over, trade unionists should be clear on one point: President Obama’s reelection will have little effect on the long term future of unionism in the United States. This is not to say the election was unimportant or to even argue that labor’s electoral strategy was misplaced. Rather, it is simply to say that the decades’ long decline of unionism cannot be reversed (or even significantly impacted) by a Presidential election.
This is not to say that the recent election did not matter. The parties do differ on social issues, on issues of tax policy, and on limited issues of labor rights. Nor is it to discount Republican threats, such as right to scab legislation or measures attacking public employee bargaining. In the coming months, major battles loom such as the manufactured “fiscal cliff,” important questions of taxation, and hopefully even a fight over anti-democratic Senate filibuster rules. All of these are important reasons for the labor movement not to simply ignore the political arena.
It is equally important, however, that unionists be clear that the decline in union density cannot be resolved at the ballot box. While this point may seem obvious, given labor’s constant pull towards electoral politics reviewing the reason this is the case may be useful.
by Laura Clawson
After walkouts spread to Walmart stores in 12 states Tuesday, one of the groups organizing workers told Steven Greenhouse that they have no intention of stopping:
Mr. Schlademan, director of the union-backed Making Change at Walmart campaign, added that more than 200 employees were traveling to Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to stage a protest on Wednesday during the company’s annual meeting with financial analysts.He warned that disgruntled Wal-Mart employees, joined by labor unions and community groups, might stage a combined protest and educational campaign the Friday after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.