OPINION

On Black Friday, U.S. Labor Movement Sets Its Sights On Walmart

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22:   People carry items at the Black Thursday sale at the Toys 'R' Us store in Times Square November 22, 2012 in New York City.The store got a head start on the traditional Black Friday sales by opening their doors at 8pm on Thanksgiving night.   (Photo by Andrew Kelly/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22: People carry items at the Black Thursday sale at the Toys 'R' Us store in Times Square November 22, 2012 in New York City.The store got a head start on the traditional Black Friday sales by opening their doors at 8pm on Thanksgiving night. (Photo by Andrew Kelly/Getty Images)  (2012 Getty Images)

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and for many it will be a special time spent in the good company of family and friends. Unfortunately, in recent years, this holiday is accompanied by a small number of professional protestors financed by Big Labor bosses who try to politicize Black Friday. And this year will be no different.

The timing is impeccable, as many journalists and editors are away. These individuals – very few of whom actually work at the retail outlets they are protesting – try to convince mainstream media they are aggrieved workers seeking fair treatment. Quite obviously, the target of most of the theatrics is the nation’s largest employer, Walmart.

A majority of these protestors are not Walmart employees, but protesters who have been recruited and paid by worker centers to protest retail stores on Black Friday.

- Hector Barreto

For years, union membership has been waning and union bosses around the country are desperately trying to retain a semblance of relevancy, while maintaining their cozy lifestyles, all of which requires worker dues. They have set their sights high, aggressively seeking to maximize their payout by attempting to forcibly unionize Walmart employees at all costs.  

However, in today’s environment, employees are not as interested as they once were in forking over hard-earned dollars to a collective bargaining unit when they are satisfied with their workplace conditions, salaries, benefit packages and opportunities for upward mobility. This has put labor bosses in bind, as they are hell bent on selling a narrative that retail workers are unhappy. Unable to actually identify a sufficient amount of workers who will make their case, Big Labor bosses have resorted to worker impersonation.

Spearheading this effort to tell a fictitious narrative are the operators of worker centers, which cosmetically are nearly identical to unions in that they fight for labor’s causes and primarily benefit the bosses. These labor front groups are an organizing model promoted by none other than the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). Their reason for existing is largely to engage in campaigns that disrupt employers and make it difficult for them to operate.

Worker centers typically organize as charitable organizations despite being anything but giving and compassionate. This allows them to seek and receive financing from various foundations, even state and federal government agencies. And under the Obama administration, as you can imagine, labor bosses have found an open checkbook.

At the forefront of organized labor’s fight against retailers such as Walmart is a worker center called the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart). This group has been especially nefarious in its activities, characterizing the Walmart protesters as disgruntled and underpaid employees. In truth, a majority of these protestors are not Walmart employees, but protesters who have been recruited and paid by worker centers to protest retail stores on Black Friday. This movement is anything but organic. 

This is politics at its worse. Unions have sunk to the lowest common denominator as a means to reach their goals by unfairly attacking the reputation of legitimate job providing businesses, like Walmart, and burdening them with unnecessary costs and complications. Instead of being able to focus on hiring workers, expanding services, purchasing new equipment or even opening new stores, America’s employers are looking over their shoulder for government-financed union front groups employing professional demonstrators.

At the end of the day, these worker centers are hurting America’s pathway to economic recovery and damaging the very businesses that helped build this nation into an economic powerhouse. It is time for Big Labor bosses to stop the endless protests which are doing nothing to help the very workers they claim to care so much about and end the lies they are telling Americans about our nation’s job creators. 

Hector Barreto is the chairman of The Latino Coalition and the former U.S. Small Business Administrator. He has invited both presidential campaigns to send a representative to The Latino Coalition's West Coast Small Business Summit.

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