Skip to comments.Walmart workers scarce at Black Friday anti-Walmart protest in D.C.
Posted on 11/30/2014 12:31:05 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
Organizers of a post-Thanksgiving protest on behalf of workers at a Walmart in downtown Washington, D.C. identified only one of the participants as actually working at that store.
The admission underscores the fact that few Walmart workers have been involved in the protests.
"Thirty striking workers from Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland took part in todays protest, and Melinda Gaino, one of the striking workers, works at the H Street Store," said Julie Anderson, a spokeswoman for the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers union, which organized the event.
Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg claimed the number was far smaller. "We recognized about 5 to 10 who are current associates from around the metro area," he said.
UFCW had previously said that 50 Walmart employees from the D.C. metropolitan area, including Virginia and Maryland, would take part in Friday's event. There are 22 Walmarts in a 25-mile radius of the H Street store, meaning that the protest attracted at most about one and a half employees per store in the region. A majority of the protesters were community leaders and liberal activists not affiliated with Walmart.
Nonetheless, UFCW characterized the event in a press release as including "hundreds of Walmart workers and community allies" who "joined the biggest strikes in company history."
The D.C. protest was part of a national effort to disrupt the non-union retail giant on "Black Friday," one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The union has long sought to organize the retailer's estimated 1.3 million employees. Walmart has aggressively resisted all efforts.
The events were organized through OUR Walmart, a nonprofit organization backed by UFCW that claims to represent Walmart workers upset by the company's practices. The organization said there would be 160 events nationally, though it directed reporters only to the ten largest.
"I'm on strike today because I don't believe that anyone who speaks up for positive changes at Walmart should be punished," said Gaino in a statement. "I've worked at this store since it opened, and even though I'm considered full-time and work 40 hours a week, I still rely on government assistance to get by. Walmart needs to respect our right to speak out for a better life."
Walmart annual wages range between $16,000-$23,000 for cashiers, $16,000-27,000 for sales associates, $16,000-28,000 for shelf stockers and $18,000-$31,000 for pharmacists, according to payscale.com, making them comparable to other retailers like Target. By comparison, the annual salary for a 40 hour-week at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is $15,080. Anything below $11,670 is defined as poverty by the federal government, though that level rises with every dependent claimed by the worker.
Few other employees at the D.C. location appeared to share Gaino's opinion. "I haven't heard of anyone joining the protest," said one shelf-stocker.
Another worker, busy scrubbing anti-Walmart slogans scrawled in chalk on the sidewalk in front of the store by protesters, shook his head. "They say we are just getting $9.50 an hour (DC's current minimum wage), but that's not so," the employee said.
There did not seem to be much of a groundswell at other metro area stores either. A worker at a Lanham, Md., store that been the site of a 2012 OUR Walmart protest said, "I wouldn't do that. I love my job." She called the D.C. protest "a mess," adding that she wouldn't want to see the store shut down on Black Friday because so many of their local customers depend on it.
Other workers were simply weary. An Easton, Md., Walmart employee said she had headaches as a result of being at the store until closing at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, then coming back in at 5 a.m. on Friday. She wasn't getting overtime either. But she wasn't about to join a protest.
"No, I want to keep my job," she said.
The vast majority of WM employees know the unions do not have their best interests at heart
Walmart needs to respect our right to speak out for a better lifeIt is not up to Walmart to provide you a better life. that is up to you. Education would be a start. Maybe an additional part time job like many of us have too do in the Obama economy..
Walmart annual wages range between $16,000-$23,000 for cashiers
For a cashier? An Army E1 w/2years in gets $18,378
I think you should stop complaining..............
>> Walmart needs to respect our right to speak out for a better life
And what is Walmart doing to disrespect such rights?
Wal-Mart workers don’t get to live in subsidized housing on base.
Although I agree with you, the educational establishment has not made it easy for somebody to get an education and work for a living.
It can be done, but it’s harder than it should be.
To be honest, once the Walmart opened in DC....it was the only non-government significant job creator in decades within the District. You could line up a hundred employees and they’d all tell you that they are happy with the job and the company.
When Wal-Mart opened in our town there were thousands of applicants for a few hundred jobs; nobody here would be protesting...
I worked at Wal Mart and would have loved to have had a union to help protect me from what I considered production harassment. I’ve worked union and I’ve worked non-union and the pay, benefits, and treatment have always been better where there was a union. When I’ve worked non-union, I’ve felt like a peon going up against Goliath when I’ve had a legitimate complaint. I know this is not everyone’s experience but it’s been mine.
Are you known among fellow employees as a complainer?
Just asking. I’ve known a few individuals through the years who viewed themselves and their constant complaining as heroic; while their fellow employees viewed them as pain in the ass troublemakers.
The Scottish poet Robert Burns, I believe, said: “Of all the gifts the Giftie gie is; to see ourselves as others see us.”
In Williston, ND, they were provided housing. (Rents in town are nuts).
No. I always bit my tongue. Another employee with a couple of years in said in the break room once: “People on disability make more than we do.”
Another long-time employee came out on the floor once when I was stocking and said: “Does it ever frustrate you when they expect you to meet those ridiculous quotas?”
The “complainer”s at the store were management. Always gettin’ on people for production when most of the people were workin’ hard for not much pay while the store had profits coming of their ears.
As to being “complainer”: Why is it so often assumed that the worker has an attitude proper while it can’t even be considered that the corporation might have a greed problem?
“For a cashier? An Army E1 w/2years in gets $18,378
I think you should stop complaining..............”
An Army E1 w/2years... As I recall, one is more or less promoted automatically to E2 after about six months. By two years nearly all have been promoted to E3 and many have made E4. Btw, way back in the day (1965~1968) as an E1 I was paid $98/mo. Just a side note, cigarettes were $1/carton, bottle of Jacj Daniels Black was around $2. On post clubs had slots too.
Wal-mart employees are not subject to being sent into combat against their wills, either.
There is ABSOLUTELY no comparison between Wal-mart employment (or any other civilian employment, for that matter) and the indentured servitude that is military life. Yes, military life is chosen voluntarily and it is often not a bad life. But please don't throw out spurious arguments like "Wal-Mart workers dont get to live in subsidized housing on base."
At times my USMC "housing" fell under the category of "home is where you dig it."
The 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers union, one of whose tactics is to go into W-M stores, posing as shoppers, fill a cart with meat and other perishables and walk away from it. W-M then has to throw away the food. It does not get re stocked.
Then let's respect Wal-Mart's right to fire anybody they want and for any reason they want.
“Wal-Mart workers dont get to live in subsidized housing on base.”
Army E1’s don’t get to live with mommy and daddy at home either.