Who's paying for the Wal-Mart Airlift?

At 10 am ET, 100 Wal-Mart workers from around the country will demonstrate in Washington DC to demonstrate for Card Check.  They will complain about working conditions and wages, which should prompt reporters covering the protest to ask a basic question:

Washington, DC – Nearly 100 Walmart workers from 17 states will come to Washington, DC this week for a national organizing committee meeting, and to brief Congressional staff on working conditions at America’s number one private employer and why they need a union voice in the workplace.

Workers from Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, will be available to speak to reporters following the briefing with Congressional staff:

WHAT: Briefing for Congressional Staff and Press by Walmart Workers
WHEN: Thursday, April 30 at 10 AM
WHERE: Agriculture Committee Room, #328 Russell Senate Office Building

Despite Walmart’s long and well-documented history of anti-worker activities, associates say they are emboldened by the election of Barack Obama and the introduction of the Employee Free Choice Act in Congress. Ten of these workers shared their stories in a new video, released last week.
Walmart Workers for Change is a new campaign made up of thousands of Walmart workers joining together to form a union and negotiate better benefits, higher wages, and more opportunity for a better future.

The campaign is a project of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), America’s neighborhood union. The UFCW represents 1.3 million workers nationwide, with nearly one million working in the supermarket industry. Many of UFCW members also work at national retail stores such as Bloomingdales, Macys, H&M, Modell’s Sporting Goods, Saks Fifth Avenue, RiteAid, CVS, and Syms.

So these overworked and undercompensated employees from 17 states have enough time and money to take a couple of days off to travel to DC for a demonstration?  Is this a spontaneous decision?  I’d say … no.  Reporters should be asking whether these demonstrators are getting compensation from the UFCW for their travel expenses, meals, time off, and anything else.

After all, some people wouldn’t mind a job at Wal-Mart or anywhere else in this economy.  And if they’re getting on round-trip flights to plead poverty in our nation’s capital in an effort to strip workers of the secret ballot, we’d like to know who’s footing the bill.