Unions Rally Protesters Against Walmart at Minimum-Wage Protest

Unions rallied their employees, students, and allies for a protest at a Walmart in Pico Rivera, California, kicking off a national campaign to pressure the retailer to pay a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

“The unions try to portray [their] protests as a demonstration of Walmart employees who are upset with the company [but] that cannot be further from the truth,” Ryan Williams, a senior advisor to Worker Center Watch, told Breitbart News exclusively about the protest. “Unfortunately, many in the mainstream media have accepted the unions at their word that these are Walmart employees, when they’re not.”

This year, Walmart spent $1.2 billion to raise the hourly wages of workers and is planning to spend an additional $1.5 billion to raise hourly wages. In October, Walmart suffered its biggest stock decline in over 25 years, immediately after they announced that the raised wages would cut profits by nine percent in the next year.

A video released by Worker Watch Center shows that the so-called “Walmart workers” at the Pico Rivera protest weren’t Walmart workers. Some protesters were wearing shirts from the Teamsters union. Other protesters admit on video that they are not Walmart employees, but just student volunteers. “I’m here with the Whittier College community and we organized a lot of students from Whittier College to come and support,” said one protester on camera. Another protester tells the camera, “I’m just out here to support.”

“These are not Walmart workers, they’re union activists from other unions like the Teamsters, the SEIU, the [United Food & Commercial Workers International Union], who have an interest in unionizing Walmart, not to help workers, but to help the union bosses who are trying to replenish their depleted union membership rolls,” Williams said.

 “Unions like the UFCW and the SEIU who want to unionize Walmart want to do so because union membership is at record lows. Union bosses aren’t able to pump as much money out of employees through union dues to support their lavish conferences, their huge salaries and their fancy headquarters,” Williams said.
Unions have been facing a steady decline in membership. Union membership in 2014 accounted for just a little over 11 percent of the workforce. The decline in membership rolls is causing a lot of trouble for unions, which have underfunded pension funds.

Earlier this year, the Labor Department announced that 235 multi-employer-multi-employee funds are in “critical” and “endangered” status, meaning they lack the funds to pay 80 percent of their promised benefits.

“At one point during the protest, there was a mass group of actual Walmart workers who took a break to come out and show support for their employers by doing the Walmart cheer,” Williams said. “They did it right in the face of the protesters to show that they, in fact, as employees, supported their employer and not the protesters, he said. “The protesters didn’t really appreciate that.”