American anti-union propaganda for Walmart protests

American anti-union propaganda for Walmart protests

An organisation which is apparently “dedicated to exposing Big Labor’s abuse of the worker center organizational model” has released this video in anticipation of protests against Walmart.

Is this really what North America is like? Who the hell would actually watch this and take it seriously?

Comments

Chilli Sauce
Nov 28 2013 08:34

That's amazing.

AES
Nov 28 2013 17:02
Former Walmart Exec Leads Shadowy Smear Campaign Against Black Friday Activists wrote:
As activists continue to organize demonstrations at McDonalds, Walmart and other low-wage firms, big protests are planned against retailers for mistreating their workers this Black Friday. In response, union-busting consultants are ramping up efforts to marginalize them.

Last night—Worker Center Watch, a new website dedicated to attacking labor-affiliated activist groups like OUR Walmart, Restaurant Opportunities Center, and Fast Food Forward—began sponsoring advertisements on Twitter to promote smears against the protests planned for Black Friday. In one video sponsored by the group, activists demanding a living wage and better working conditions for workers are portrayed as lazy “professional protesters” who “haven’t bothered to get jobs themselves.”

“This Black Friday, just buy your gifts, not their lies,” instructs the Worker Center Watch narrator. Watch it: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3JiX_Prb2UY2ju-2_FS5Pw

Worker Center Watch has no information its website about its sponsors. Yet the group attacks labor activists and community labor groups for lacking transparency. “Hiding behind these non-profits, unions mask their true motivations, circumvent operational requirements and skirt reporting and disclosure obligations,” says Worker Center Watch, referring to labor-supported worker centers like OUR Walmart.

TheNation.com has discovered that Worker Center Watch was registered by the former head lobbyist for Walmart. Parquet Public Affairs, a Florida-based government relations and crisis management firm for retailers and fast food companies, registered the Worker Center Watch website.

The firm is led by Joseph Kefauver, formerly the president of public affairs for Walmart and government relations director for Darden Restaurants. Throughout the year, Parquet executives have toured the country, giving lectures to business groups on how to combat the rise of what has been called “alt-labor.” At a presentation in October for the National Retail Federation, a trade group for companies like Nordstrom and Nike, Kefauver’s presentation listed protections against wage theft, a good minimum wage and mandated paid time off as the type of legislative demands influenced by the worker center protesters.

The presentation offered questions for the group, including: “How Aggressive Can We Be?” and “How do We Challenge the Social Justice Narrative?”

It seems retailers are now experimenting with how aggressive they can be. Today, Parquet’s Worker Center Watch posted a link to a Breitbart News story featuring a video allegedly obtained by someone who infiltrated an Occupy activist group planning to demonstrate against Walmart.

The alarm at how quickly the new organizing model has taken off has sparked anxiety among business executives. Littler Mendelson, a law firm that helps companies defeat labor unions, released a report outlining the challenge for corporate executives. The US Chamber of Commerce, a dark-money group that counts Walmart and McDonalds as members, produced a similar study last week.

Corporations fear that the new wave of activism could have a multiplier effect that goes way beyond better pay and benefits for their workers.

In a webinar hosted this month for business executives seeking a “union-free workplace,” Nancy Jowske explained that the alt-labor model could heavily influence millennials and their perceptions of labor unions. “One of the things to consider about what’s going there with SEIU’s Fight for 15 and all of this is the millennial generation,” said Jowske, a former SEIU organizer turned union-buster, “they are getting a steady diet of pro-union from every possible direction." She added, "this is also a generation that is very class-conscious” and explained that the current alt-labor protests could incite future organizing drives. Jowske also cited a recent In These Times piece to argue that worker centers can be portrayed as “union front groups,” and warned that the alt-labor organizing model could have a long-term impact. For instance, the organizing model appears to help unions and community groups forge close ties that could be later used to deploy activists for political campaigns, workplace NLRB elections and other left-wing causes.

Hieronymous
Nov 29 2013 02:19

So it comes down to Parquet Public Affairs vs. Berlin Rosen Public Affairs. PR firm vs. PR firm. $10+ million slick media campaign vs. $10+ million slick media campaign. Meme vs. meme. Planted press releases masquerading as news reporting vs.planted press releases masquerading as news reporting. Spectacle vs. spectacle. Lie vs. lie.

Or phrased slightly differently: Chamber of Commerce front groups vs. union front groups. Service industry vs. alt-labor. Corporate America vs. community activism. Pro-management narratives vs. "social justice" narratives (whatever the latter means: I'm assuming it's still within the realm of the logic of capital and the value form, as in "a fair day's pay for a fair day's work," ad nauseam).

But in reality it's not about capitalists vs. the working class. It's about new methods of production, distribution and consumption vs. outdated unions, ACORN-type reformists, and their Democratic Party allies using protest-lobbying tactics to march-on-the-media to try to pressure the political establishment for reform. Nothing more, really.

What we all need is not "class war" narratives to compete on the marketplace of ideas, but working class agency based on rank-and-file initiative from the shopfloor that will spread consciousness among the class globally. We need real strikes and real class struggle.

One management wonk made one of the only honest statements in all this:

anti-union hack wrote:
“The emperor has no clothes here.This is not even a strike, it’s a picket. And it’s a picket by union staff, not Wal-Mart employees.”
sinbadbuddha
Nov 28 2013 18:53

CNBC calls these propagandists 'leading labor experts'

Steven.
Nov 28 2013 19:19

Not watch this video yet, but Hieronymous you have written some good and informative comments on these protests. It would be really good if you combine them into a proper article which people could refer to more easily than more scattered comments about the place. (Unless there is a good critique already existing which we could just duplicate in the library?)

armillaria
Nov 30 2013 01:40

Ah. So they work for union bosses, *and* they don't have jobs. Got it.