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Previously: Black Friday labor demonstration in Roeland Park, Kansas (November 23, 2012)

A press release from Walmart:

The following statement can be attributed to David Tovar, Vice President, Corporate Communications.

Nov. 23, 2012 – The number of protests being reported by the UFCW are grossly exaggerated. We are aware of a few dozen protests at our stores today. The number of associates that have missed their scheduled shift today is more than 60 percent less than Black Friday last year.

It was proven last night – and again today – that the OUR Walmart group doesn’t speak for the 1.3 million Walmart associates. We had our best Black Friday ever and 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.

“…the large majority of protesters aren’t even Walmart workers…”

And why would that be? Are they happy campers? Are there consequences for speaking out, either way? Just asking.

No matter how much the corporation tries to spin it, this is the new meme.

A demonstrator in Roeland Park, Kansas on “Black Friday”, November 23, 2012.

From yesterday’s broadcast report on KSHB on the labor demonstration in Roeland Park, Kansas:

Lisa Benson, KSHB: [quoting a Walmart press release] “…Press reports are now exposing what we have said all along, the large majority of protesters aren’t even Walmart workers.”

A significant fact that doesn’t appear to bother these protesters who are standing for the rights of workers as they work. Now demonstrators say employees need to unionize, but again, there were no Walmart employees at that demonstration, so we were not able to ask them what they want.

“…there were no Walmart employees at that demonstration, so we were not able to ask them what they want…”

Uh, is a demonstration the only place you can seek out employees if you want to ask them questions? Just asking.

That wasn’t the point. This is:

November 24, 2012 9:07 AM

The Black Friday worker actions at Wal-Mart: why they mattered

By Kathleen Geier

….a strategy of gradual escalation that will be the “new permanent reality” for Wal-Mart: keeping the pressure on, and throwing a harsh national spotlight on the retailer’s bottom-feeding, exploitative labor practices.

Why do these actions matter? First of all, there’s the brute fact of Wal-Mart’s enormous size and power. Wal-Mart is the third largest public corporation in the world, and also the world’s largest private employer, and largest retailer. And as historians like Bethany Moreton have pointed out, when it comes to its employees, Wal-Mart, with its roots in the culture of the agrarian South, has always taken an anti-modern, deeply feudalistic and patriarchal approach. Its economic model is based on low-wage labor, and it has been notable as one of the most vehemently anti-union employers in American history. Since Wal-Mart is such a behemoth, and since its ideology is so passionately anti-labor, it has been one of the driving forces in our economy that has been disempowering and immiserating American workers and accelerating economic inequality. Here, for example, are a few shocking stats, from internal Wal-Mart documents that were recently released: low-level workers at Wal-Mart generally start at only $8 per hour, and, even if their evaluations are flawless, are eligible for a yearly raise that is, at maximum, 60 cents per hour. Most workers get only 20 to 40 cents, and the average worker, after working there for six years, would only be making $10.60 an hour….

To put it in the words of an organizer of yesterday’s demonstration in Roeland Park, Kansas:

….Walmart set the standard to open on Thanksgiving night. Sears, Kmart, everybody else followed suit. When Walmart does it everybody else does it. So next Thanksgiving, when you’re sitting at the, at the dinner table and some of your family’s not there because they’re at work this is why….

When people start paying attention you’ve already lost, no matter how furiously you continue to spin.