I don't shop at Wal-Mart. I don't like their stores, and I don't like how they do business.
A story in today's Wall Street Journal illustrates Wal-Mart's philosophy. Because Wal-Mart opposes a bill to make unionizing easier for employees, it's human-resource personnel have been having meetings with store managers and supervisors about the upcoming election.
"The meeting leader said, 'I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill will pass and you won't have a vote on whether you want a union,'" said a Wal-Mart customer-service supervisor from Missouri. "I am not a stupid person. They were telling me how to vote," she said.
If Obama becomes president and Democrats still control Congress, there's more of a chance for the Employee Free Choice Act to pass. I'm not an expert on unions. I've worked in both a union newsroom and a non-union newsroom. But I feel that if workers want to unionize, they should have that right. This bill would make it easier for them to do so, without intimidation from management.
Wal-Mart has gone to great lengths to discourage unions.
On June 30 the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Wal-Mart illegally fired an employee in Kingman, Ariz., who supported the UFCW and illegally threatened to freeze merit-pay increases if employees voted for union representation.
Through almost all of its 48-year history, Wal-Mart has fought hard to keep unions out of its stores, flying in labor-relations rapid-response teams from its Bentonville, Ark., headquarters to any location where union activity was building. The United Food and Commercial Workers was successful in organizing only one group of Wal-Mart workers -- a small number of butchers in East Texas in early 2000. Several weeks later, the company phased out butchers in all of its stores and began stocking prepackaged meat. When a store in Canada voted to unionize several years ago, the company closed the store, saying it had been unprofitable for years.
Wal-Mart clearly cares only about its bottom line -- and the hefty salary their executives take home. They give little to no consideration to their workers.
Oh, and by the way ... guess who else is trying to squash the pro-union bill. Rick Berman. Yes, the same Rick Berman who is president of the Center for Consumer Freedom. He runs the Employee Freedom Action Committee, a pro-business group. He also has a Web site called the Center for Union Facts. Although I can assure you, the "facts" are lies. He's very anti-union.
(Image courtesy of EyesonCreativity.com.)