The Walmart Strike

It occurred to me just now that I've barely heard anything about the strikes that were supposed to be happening at Walmarts across the country today.  According to USA Today, it seems they didn't have much effect:

 Scattered walk-outs and protests by Walmart workers and their supporters in at least nine states may have scored symbolic points Friday by taking on the retail giant head-on, but apparently they did little to keep shoppers away as the company quickly claimed its best Black Friday ever.

The company said in a statement Friday morning that its stores rang up almost 10 million transactions from the time doors opened for Black Friday shoppers at 8 p.m. Thursday until midnight, or about 5,000 items per second.

OUR Walmart, backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, claimed an estimated 1,000 protests were held from Thursday to Friday in 46 states, though the exact number is unclear, the Associated Press reports.

Walmart reps are saying that the protests consisted almost entirely of non-employees, claiming that only about 50 people across the country who actually work for Walmart participated, and that strikes only took place at 26 stores.  Strike representatives are saying that multiple workers at over 100 stores took part, and I have no idea whether one side or the other is lying outright, or whether the correct number is somewhere in the middle.  Or some other number entirely.  Or maybe unicorns attacked all the Walmarts today.  I don't know, I haven't left the house.

Best. Strike. Ever.

SourceFed reports on a push by labor organizers to get WalMart employees to strike on Black Friday.  I want this to happen so bad you have no idea.

According to the video, WalMart employees are kept at low enough wages and hours that, on average, costs the government $2.66 billion through assistance programs like food stamps.  So, I guess, never mind the arguments about poor people gaming the system so they don't have to work as hard as everyone else.  It turns out, it's major corporations gaming the system to get the government to subsidize employee pay and benefits.

Also, apparently, there's this:

The last straw for Walmart’s workers was the announcement that they were having their earliest opening for Black Friday ever – 8 pm on Thanksgiving Day. 

Again:  I want this to happen, so bad, you have no idea.


Former WalMart reborn as massive library

(via Boing Boing) My idea of the perfect town features as a main central location a massive library, with public computers, as many books as the place can handle, and space for people to get together, teach each other, and generally live their lives through an academic window.

It may not be exactly that, but McAllen, Texas has a new library that's certainly big enough.  When the local WalMart moved to a larger location, they took over the warehouse and turned it into a massive public library.

It looks beautiful, and I bet it's a lot more comfortable than my local library.  WalMart has much more consistent motivation than local governments to make people want to stay in their buildings for a long time.

 "In a city like McAllen, with cartel violence across the river (less than 10 miles away from the library), I think it's amazing that the city is devoting resources to a) not only saving a large and conspicuous piece of property from decline and vandalism, but b) diverting those resources into youth and the public trust," [Adriana] Ramirez writes.