Walmart employees were threatening to bring holiday shopping to its knees by striking on the busiest shopping day of the year to show their demand for a better working conditions. So, how did it go?
Plans for the protests have been in motion for a little over a month now. Largely organized on Facebook by a group called Organization United for Respect at Walmart, today's protests were meant to be the grand culmination of two months of smaller, minor protests at Wal-Marts across the country.
Well, in Chicago, protestors were bussed in to stand with the lone store employee who decided to protest. Our Walmart claims there were protestors in over 100 cities today, which would be an astronomical number of people protesting.
Walmart had a slightly different estimate. "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," Walmart chief executive Bill Simon said. Now, there's almost no way that number can be accurate. Maybe his math was a little off. We all forget to carry the two sometimes. This Reuters photo from a Walmart protest in California, which is a mixture of striking employees and supporters, shows a pretty big crowd:
But to say Walmart wasn't at least a little worried about protest turnout would be dishonest. The Huffington Post scored the official memo sent out to Walmart managers on how to deal with potential walkouts. There's not much in there of any interest, but it's a sign that the retailer was at least threatened by the possibility of their workers walking out on Friday.
One manager who got the memo in Dallas politely asked these protestors to leave the store, and they did without incident.
But they had balloons! We liked their enthusiasm.