The AFL-CIO has claimed that last week’s Black Friday protests at Walmart locations nationwide were the “biggest ever for Walmart workers.” However, as the Freedom Foundation points out, the claim is “highly suspect.” Particularly concerning is the claim that the protests involved a large number of Walmart employees.
In Washington State, the few Black Friday protests demanding a $15 minimum wage “appeared to be primarily the work of local United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union affiliates, not actual Walmart employees.” The UFCW Local 367— the union representing about 7,000 retail clerks in Pierce, Thurston, Lewis, Pacific, Grays Harbor, and Mason Counties—posted images of Black Friday protests on Twitter. Upon close inspection of the images, many protestors “appear repeatedly in the photos.”
According to the Freedom Foundation, “it appears that about 17 different individuals participated in at least one of the eight “actions” at local Walmarts.” Additionally, “at least three of these 17 are currently employed by UFCW 367.” Only one photo pictures actual Walmart employees and, even then, “it is unclear if they are actively participating in the protest or merely conversing with activists.”
Looks like the AFL-CIO really doesn’t have all that much to brag about concerning the size of this year’s Black Friday protests. Then again, if the claim that the protests were the “biggest ever” is true, what does that tell us about big labor’s success in pushing a $15 minimum wage?