Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Picketing at Portland's Walmart Store Ends in One Local Arrest and Record National Sales

Assorted union members--including a Portland State University faculty union member-- picketed the only Walmart store allowed inside the city limits of Portland, Oregon* over the Thanksgiving holiday. One arrest was made of a man who broke into the store and 'caused a disturbance.'

The union members said they were upset that Walmart was forcing its workers to work Thanksgiving evening ---although they apparently had no compunction at requesting union members to give up their Thanksgiving to work a picket line.

The usual Jobs With Justice, Occupy, and anti Israel crowd was out in force on "Black Friday" to protest Walmart for doing what every retailer in the world was probably doing on Friday: remaining open to Christmas shoppers.

But Walmart says the planned union protests backfired. In a press release sent out Friday, the retailer claimed,
In response to the UFCW’s planned protests, [Walmart US President Bill]Simon added, “Only 26 protests occurred at stores last night and many of them did not include any Walmart associates.” In addition, the company did not experience the walk-offs that were promised by the UFCW. “We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide. In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year,” Simon said.
The Portland State Professor, interviewed by KGW, claimed the non union Walmart isn't creating middle class jobs, although out of 1.3 million employees Walmart claims to have (see my post here) I'm guessing there may be a few white color jobs in there.

"You can't run an economy on low wage jobs and no benefits...and that's not what Walmart's providing."

Walmart claims that the average wage for hourly "associates" --not managers (which are higher)--is $13.04/hour in Oregon. They also have a choice of five insurance policies. I guess the "faculty union member" believes the only benefits worth having are ones for which workers don't have to contribute (see my post here).  The "faculty union member" is of the erroneous opinion that the only middle class jobs are union jobs--intentionally forgetting that only seven percent of workers in private sector jobs are unionized.

Only one protester actually went into the store and caused adisturbance. It must have been something considering all these charges:
The person arrested last night during a protest at Walmart was 33-year-old Justin Alexander Kerston of Southwest Portland for Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree, Interfering with a Police Officer and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree.

Kerston was creating a disturbance inside the store and when asked to leave by Walmart employees, he refused to leave and continued to yell and scream at employees and police officers.
*Portland's "leadership" will not allow more people to save money at Walmart because of the company's non union stance. Customers can either drive to the 82nd and Holgate Walmart or head off to the many suburbs which do allow the stores within their city limits. Portland officials, led by Mayor Sam Adams who once sported an anti Walmart sign in his City Hall office window, actually instituted a building moratorium on an entire swath of Portland property on Hayden Island rather than let the world's largest retailer build there. Sometime later he agreed to actually go inside a Walmart and act as a 'greeter' for a short time.

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