Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the world. It is also stridently anti-union, fearing that a unionized workforce could be an existential threat to its cut-every-last-penny business model. Unions have been trying unsuccessfully for years to organize Wal-Mart's work force. (See here if you're unclear on why Wal-Mart workers might need a union.) But the latest push seems to have the big bad retailer a little shook.
A group called OUR Wal-Mart is planning a series of protests at Wal-Mart stores on Black Friday. Just a few Americans exercising their free speech rights on a busy fucking shopping day, is all. But the group is backed by unions, and coming, as it does, after a rare strike by WM workers last month, the company seems to be getting touchy—so touchy, in fact, that they're trying to preemptively ban the protests. Wal-Mart has asked the NLRB to prevent the protests from going forward. A shockingly pussy move for such a wealthy and powerful corporation? Yes. But there may be ulterior motives. From the NYT:
Angela B. Cornell, director of the labor law clinic at Cornell Law School, says the company probably knows that the labor board usually takes weeks or months to act, making it unlikely that Wal-Mart could obtain an injunction by Friday. She said she suspected the filing was more likely aimed at warning employees about engaging in what the company maintained was illegal picketing. A letter to the union from Wal-Mart uses the word "illegal" three times, though she said a one-time walkout like this was generally protected under the National Labor Relations Act.
If there is a better ongoing David vs. Goliath story in all of American labor than underpaid part-time workers vs. Motherfucking Wal-Mart, I don't know what it is.
Please remember to support your local angry, underpaid Wal-Mart workers yearning to be free this holiday season.