Labor Union

OUR Walmart

Location:

OAKLAND, CA

Tax ID:

27-3421332

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(5)

Full Name:

Organization United for Respect at Walmart

Formation:

2010

Created by:

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)

OUR Walmart (also known as the Organization United for Respect at Walmart) was a publicity campaign created by the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW). OUR Walmart was formed in 2010 to create pressure on retailer Walmart (which critics suggested was intended to lead to unionization of the company) by creating a purported “workers’ rights” organization comprised of its employees.[1]

The organization was a project of the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) and conducted several public relations demonstrations before being largely defunded by the UFCW in 2015.[2] The effectiveness organization and its campaigns has been questioned by other left-wing union organizers.[3]

Background

Our Walmart was formed in 2010 by the United Food and Commercial Workers, which had long been targeting Walmart as it is one of the larger corporations and employers in America. The campaign first saw publicity when it organized a demonstration at a Walmart shareholder meeting at its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.[4] The union campaign sought to compel Walmart to enact a $15 minimum wage, give part time workers more hours, and provide better healthcare.[5] Critics suggested that the campaign was a front for unionizing Walmart under the UFCW,[6] but the union disclaimed an organizational motive in an agreement with the Obama administration-led National Labor Relations Board.[7]

The group also held protests and demonstrations on the busiest in-person shopping day of the year during “Black Friday” sales that drew small numbers of workers. Even labor union-aligned liberals have noted that the number of employees OUR Walmart has organized is quite small and possibly insignificant compared to the 1.5 million employees of the company.[8]

Criticism

OUR Walmart immediately drew criticism from labor union critics and Walmart for being a unionization front “worker center.” Organizing as an informal “worker center” rather than a formal labor union allows the group to avoid laws regulating unionization activities and union finances.[9]

In response to Walmart’s claim that OUR Walmart is a union front, Andy Kroll of the left-wing magazine Mother Jones wrote that, “As for the union front claim, Walmart’s got a point: OUR Walmart was established by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, though UFCW officials insist it’s not a steppingstone for unionizing.”[10]

OUR Walmart also faced criticism for its aggressive intimidation tactics. Glenn Spencer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce noted that “The UFCW-OUR Walmart protests can involve dozens of people descending on Walmart stores, damaging merchandise, harassing shoppers, provoking arrests and bullying workers. They have increasingly drawn the ire of judges and law enforcement. In one case in Michigan, OUR Walmart was charged with following a Walmart employee into a bathroom and harassing her (a charge that the group quickly settled).”[11]

Along with criticisms from Walmart, many pro-union voices on the left criticized OUR Walmart’s effectiveness and questioned if it made an impact on Walmart phasing in a $10 minimum wage or launching a program to move more employees to full-time positions. Furthermore, a leadership change at OUR Walmart’s parent organization, UFCW, left the new union president to question why the union had poured so much money into the campaign without gaining any new members.[12]

References

  1. Spencer, Glenn. “’OUR Walmart’ is a union front” The Baltimore Sun. November 27, 2014. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-our-walmart-20141127-story.html
  2. Moberg, David. “The Union Behind the Biggest Campaign Against Walmart in History May Be Throwing in the Towel. Why?” In These Times. August 11, 2015. http://inthesetimes.com/article/18271/which-way-our-walmart
  3. Olney, Peter. Where Did the OUR Walmart Campaign Go Wrong?”. In These Times. December 14, 2015. http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/18692/our-walmart-union-ufcw-black-friday
  4. Jamieson, David. “Labor Groups Are Taking On Walmart And McDonald’s. But Who Will Fund Their Fight?”. Huffington Post. June 2, 2016. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/our-walmart-funding_us_574f4b70e4b0eb20fa0cac8b
  5. “OUR Declaration of Respect”. OUR Walmart. Accessed July 22, 2018. https://www.united4respect.org/our_declaration_of_respect
  6. Spencer, Glenn. “‘OUR Walmart’ Is a Union Front.” Baltimoresun.com. December 02, 2014. Accessed July 24, 2018. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-our-walmart-20141127-story.html.
  7. Higgins, Sean. “UPDATE: NLRB Goes Easy on UFCW in Walmart Case.” Washington Examiner. January 31, 2013. Accessed July 24, 2018. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/update-nlrb-goes-easy-on-ufcw-in-walmart-case.
  8. Olney, Peter. Where Did the OUR Walmart Campaign Go Wrong?”. In These Times. December 14, 2015. http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/18692/our-walmart-union-ufcw-black-friday
  9. “Labor’s Loophole” Worker Center a center for Union facts project. Accessed July 22, 2018. http://workercenters.com/labors-loophole/
  10. Kroll, Andy. “Walmart Workers Get Organized—Just Don’t Say the U-Word”. Mother Jones. March/April 2013. Accessed July 22, 2018. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/our-walmart-black-friday-union/
  11. Spencer, Glenn. “’OUR Walmart’ is a union front” The Baltimore Sun. November 27, 2014. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-our-walmart-20141127-story.html
  12. Moberg, David. “The Union Behind the Biggest Campaign Against Walmart in History May Be Throwing in the Towel. Why?” In These Times. August 11, 2015. http://inthesetimes.com/article/18271/which-way-our-walmart
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 2017

  • Available Filings

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    OUR Walmart

    3578 GRAND AVE STE 14
    OAKLAND, CA 94610-0000