Black Friday: Lessons from Wal-Mart

Retailers know that the Friday after Thanksgiving has been the traditional bellwether for whether the year is going to be profitable. So do labor unions and their organizers, which explains why groups like the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union among others are planning “strikes” and protests at non-union Walmart stores in an attempt to disrupt their operations.

Aside from the wisdom of getting in the way of hordes of shoppers determined to get the latest bargain flat screen TV into their carts, this planned interference is just the latest in attempts to gain control over the nation’s largest retailer’s workforce.

And just in time for Christmas, Obama’s National Labor Relations Board has determined that unions can provide compensation to non-union members who walk off their job to protest Wal-Mart.

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While it is common for unions to pay the homeless population for rent-a-picket duty, the NLRB will now allow employees to walk off the job, get paid for a couple of hours of wandering around, get out of dealing with the Black Friday crowds and will likely be protected from discipline by the employer who has been left in the lurch.

The UFCW charges that Wal-Mart workers aren’t paid enough, and if only they were able to take dues payments out of each worker’s paycheck, they could drive those wages upward.

One wonders how the union juxtaposes this argument with the tens of thousands of applicants for jobs at two new stores opening in Washington, D.C.

According to a story in the liberal Daily Beast, titled “Getting a job at Walmart is harder than getting into Harvard,” Wal-Mart is hiring a total of 600 employees in those stores.

How many applicants would one guess sought these jobs that the unions deem unacceptable? 

23,000.

That’s right, 23,000 people applied for those 600 jobs, giving Wal-Mart the ability to cherry pick the cream of the employment crop.

Based upon basic supply and demand, it is pretty clear that, if anything, the people of the D.C. have voted with their feet to declare that the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer pays more than a fair wage with benefits.

What’s more, those 23,000 D.C. residents are a repudiation of the Obama economy where the reported unemployment rate hovers at 7.3 percent. But that number is only due to millions of people dropping out of the labor force, having given up hope of ever finding a job.

Wal-Mart in D.C. proves that Americans want the opportunity to better themselves through employment, breaking the cycle of dependency that the Obama administration is so desperately trying to expand.

On this Black Friday, consider the 23,000 D.C. residents looking for a job a Wal-Mart as not only a picture of the despair of Obama's failed policies, but also of the hope Americans still have that they can find work rather than rely upon handouts. A job that can only be created by the free enterprise system that Wal-Mart represents.

Manning (@rmanning957) is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government