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The demise of OUR Walmart (Read More…)

By ASHLEY PRATTE Washington Examiner 9/9/15
For more than a decade, the United Food and Commercial Workers has done everything in its power to force the unionization of Walmart. After a failed public relations campaign titled Wake Up Walmart, the UFCW tried a new tack and set up a “subsidiary” front group, Organization United for Respect at Walmart, to dodge legal requirements and execute a stealth union organizing campaign.

After wasting millions of dollars on dishonest attacks and launching shameful attempts to harass and intimidate Walmart employees, it appears that the union bosses have finally pulled the plug on the latest iteration of their smear campaign.

Since its inception, OUR Walmart has used reprehensible union-style tactics like filing frivolous costly lawsuits, coercion, illegal pickets, disruptive in¬-store protests and harassment at the homes of executives and board members in an attempt to damage Walmart’s reputation. Their efforts are a thinly veiled campaign to reverse years of declining union member rolls and recruit more dues¬ paying members to replenish the UFCW’s dwindling bank accounts.

But it appears that rank and file union members have finally come to their senses and realized that these efforts are no longer a worthwhile use of their resources. Earlier this year, they voted for new leadership that has decided to “draw back” the campaign. The Washington Post reported that a high-level union leader, on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that there was intense disagreement within the union ranks, and that “the new president campaigned internally hard against the [OUR Walmart] campaign and the resources spent on it.”

Just a few weeks before this summer’s Walmart shareholders meeting, the UFCW fired both of OUR Walmart’s leaders, Dan Schlademan and Andrea Dehlendorf.  Since the beginning of this year, over 50 percent of the campaign’s funding has been slashed. The abrupt change in union strategy is a tacit admission that OUR Walmart’s efforts have been an abject failure.

Many of today’s union members themselves are becoming frustrated with organized labor’s outdated model, which is what led to new UFCW leadership in the first place. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership has hit its lowest rate in 100 years.

Perhaps that’s because there is a big disconnect today between typical union members and union bosses. From OUR Walmart to the Service Employees International Union’s “Fight for 15,” these well-funded campaigns serve as ponzi schemes that benefit only a few at the top of the organization. Focused mostly on public relations assaults attempting to damage reputable companies and soften them up for a union drive, these campaigns aren’t about benefiting workers, they’re simply last ditch-efforts to provide an influx of cash to their struggling organizations.

For example, SEIU is spending millions on the Fight for 15 minimum wage campaign rather than reinvesting that money in expanded services for existing members.

The demise of OUR Walmart proves that union bosses have betrayed rank and file union members by wasting their resources on dishonest tactics and botched public relations campaigns. While Big Labor continues to spend millions in member dues on PR campaigns, private companies like Walmart are investing in higher wages, employee benefits, enhanced education and employee training.

Given the stark contrast in priorities, it is not surprising that unions are hemorrhaging members as more workers reject their outdated model and failed leadership.
Ashley Pratte is a senior adviser to Worker Center Watch.


Posted by Admin on 09/09 at 02:58 PM