In an act of political jujitsu, Walmart has declared the Black Friday workers' strike an epic fail by announcing that 60% fewer employees skipped work than last year, and claiming one of their most financially-successful Black Fridays ever.
Overall, Walmart alleges, only 50 workers went on strike. In Chicago, the store claimed, only one store worker joined the protestors. In Paramount, CA, Walmart says that only 5 workers protested at an event that saw 9 people arrested.
Those claims are hotly disputed by the the protests' organizers, "Our Walmart" (Organization United for Respect at Walmart), who put the figure of striking workers in the "hundreds and hundreds" and counted 18 Walmart workers at the Paramount protest. They also claim that over 1,000 protests took place in 46 states and 100 cities.
Reports confirm that the Paramount protest was ~1500 strong, and one event in Maryland saw 400 protestors march through the streets. But these numbers are still tiny compared to Walmart's 1.3 million-odd employees.
The strike's effect on public perceptions of Walmart is perhaps more important than the hard numbers. At least one shopper in Paramount had got the strikers' message: contractor Joe Tegue told Reuters that he "probably" wouldn't shop at Walmart in future, after realizing that the store's owners "take advantage of workers."