The spirited crowd protesting outside Burbank City Hall Tuesday may have its collective heart in the right place, but the residents who took part look to be just pawns in the battle between union leaders and their longtime nemesis: Walmart.
The protest was a joining of forces by local opponents of the retailer, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 770, and Warehouse Workers United. Who, though, does this alliance serve?
Pushing for fair wages is a laudable goal, and many locally may have that reason for disliking the retailer, infamous for its hostility to unions. But for all the hue and cry, city officials have no effective weapons with which to stop Walmart from moving into the space.
Traffic infrastructure improvements, officials have pledged, will be completed by 2016. And as long as Walmart is within the parameters of the zoning laws, they are within the limits that any other business would be subject to in Burbank.
If the end weren’t so inevitable, the effort might be worth it. Instead, local opponents will have little left, other than news clippings, when the labor unions realize there’s no more spotlight to be had and move on to their next stage.