On the 4th of December, the Wal-Mart on Ga Ave opened for business. It appeared that they had attracted a lot of interest, but it turned out they were giving free loaves of bread to everyone leaving the store. Meanwhile activists out front distributed fliers and warned of the threat to other people’s jobs Wal-Mart represents.
Muriel Bowser had many campaign volunteers working the line at the door. Mayor Gray also showed up, shaking hands like Adrien Fenty used to do. Gray and Bowser are both known to be solidaly in Wal-Mart’s pocket.
A solid line of cars, a few DC offical, some commercial but many with MD or DC tags was parked illegally in front of the Wal-Mart along Ga Ave. That entire stretch of Ga Ave is signed “No Parking Any Time” and there was no notice of any kind of special event permit. No tickets were being issued as of about 9AM.
At least 4 “asset protection” security guards plus other guards were in front of the store, apparently fearing that the hundreds drawn by the free loaves of bread might decide to “roll back prices” on their own by liberating everything on the shelves.
Within half an hour of Wal-Mart opening their doors, the line waiting to get in was gone and did not reappear while I was there. Very few people showed up to shop there after the initial rush for the free bread.
Wal-Mart’s workers could sure use more “bread!” Surely the UFCW will attempt to organize this store, though word is Wal-Mart would pull out even from DC before they would permit a single store to have union representation. If they stayed and Wal-Mart became union everywhere, that would be as big a deal as the sucessful UAW campaign to organize GM, Ford, and Chrysler during Great Depression I. Ford was the Wal-Mart of that era in terms of labor organizing, and they were the toughest nut to crack. In the end, even Ford had to yield to the power of the workers!