OUR Walmart

Big Labor has long coveted and repeatedly failed in its attempts to unionize the nation’s largest retailer. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have both waged multi-year smear campaigns against Walmart, but have yet to unionize any of the company’s 1.4 million associates.

After several failed attempts utilizing different front groups, the UFCW launched a friendlier sounding group, OUR Wal-Mart, which stands for Organization United for Respect at Walmart. ‘Making Change at Walmart’ is the name of the ongoing campaign.  The Black Friday protests serve as the organization’s most recognizable action to date and have encouraged many other worker centers to push the bounds of what is legally allowable.

Although OUR Walmart acts as a “subsidiary” of the UFCW, it purports that it is not attempting to unionize Walmart locations and thus claims it is not subject to the rules and regulations governing unions.  The union stands on this claim despite the fact that OUR Walmart staff members include paid UFCW organizers. Little is known about the organizations’ operation due to the fact that after three years of operation, OUR Walmart has yet to incorporate a board or file any disclosures.

For these reasons, OUR Walmart finds itself at the center of congressional action regarding worker centers.  Representatives Kline and Roe recently called upon Labor Secretary Perez to issue an “official determination” regarding the filing requirements and other obligations of OUR Walmart. 

Founding

UFCW organizer Dan Schlademan runs the day-to-day operations of OUR Walmart.  Prior to heading up the OUR Walmart effort, Schlademan served as Organizing Director for the SEIU’s Local 1 and spearheaded a janitorial organizing drive, coined Justice for Janitors, in Houston, Texas.  The campaign employed non-traditional tactics and relied on ...

Funding

Little is known about OUR Walmart’s operation.  The organization refuses to disclose its funding sources and has not created a board or named its own leadership.  According to the New York Times, “although the Web site of OUR Walmart depicts the organization as a grass-roots effort by Walmart workers, ...

Size and Scope

Since its creation three years ago, OUR Walmart and the UFCW have refused to file any documentation disclosing financial or membership information.   As a result, it’s impossible to estimate the actual membership or number of staff supporting OUR Walmart.  Protests organized by OUR Walmart are not necessarily indicative of ...

Tactics

OUR Walmart receives help from ASGK Public Strategies, a consulting firm long associated with David Axelrod, which should speak to the organization’s general approach. Their effort is a prolonged, negative attack campaign designed to tarnish the Wal-Mart brand.  On the ground, OUR Walmart employs aggressive union-style tactics that run ...