Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Wal-Mart executives pressuring workers not to vote Democratic this November

Yesterday, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal ran a front page story about Wal-Mart management's outrageous attempts to convince its workforce to vote Republican this November by equating a Democratic win with unionization, and equating unionization with lower pay and fewer jobs.

Evidently, Lee Scott and cohorts are worried sick about the prospect of an Obama administration and large Democratic majorities in Congress.

The horror of universal healthcare and and a livable wage!

Somebody's gotta put a stop to those Democrats from restoring America and giving everyone an opportunity to realize their full potential!
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they'll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies -- including Wal-Mart.

In recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized.

According to about a dozen Wal-Mart employees who attended such meetings in seven states, Wal-Mart executives claim that employees at unionized stores would have to pay hefty union dues while getting nothing in return, and may have to go on strike without compensation. Also, unionization could mean fewer jobs as labor costs rise.
It's no wonder Wal-Mart management is scared.

If their employees become part of a union like the United Food and Commercial Workers, the company will be forced to actually respect its employees and start treating them like humans instead of garbage.

Workers would get better pay and benefits thanks to collective bargaining.

So what are Wal-Mart executives doing? Trying to intimidate their workforce by badmouthing Democrats and lying about how unions work.
The Wal-Mart human-resources managers who run the meetings don't specifically tell attendees how to vote in November's election, but make it clear that voting for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in, according to Wal-Mart employees who attended gatherings in Maryland, Missouri and other states.

"The meeting leader said, 'I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill [the Employee Free Choice Act] 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.
What a load of rubbish. It's Wal-Mart that doesn't want its workers to be able to have a vote on whether to unionize or not. Democrats are all for empowering Americans, while Wal-Mart is fiercely opposed to the idea.

Wal-Mart executives are clearly frightened by the thought of their employees gaining the power to stand up for themselves.

Responding to the Wall Street Journal article, Wal-Mart Watch Director David Nassar accurately described the company's real intentions:
Wal-Mart seems willing to do anything to maintain a status quo in which the company pays poorly, refuses to compensate workers for time worked, discriminates against workers and offers poor benefits.

Wal-Mart wants its workers to believe it has their best interests at heart, but as workers told us this week when coming to us with these stories, they know better. The current Wal-Mart culture is good for Wal-Mart executives, good for the Walton family, but very bad for Wal-Mart's hourly employees.
Meghan Scott at had similarly harsh words for the company.
For all its PR moves and gimmicks over the last year, it is still business as usual at Wal-Mart. The retailer has been caught red-handed trying to intimidate workers and scare them into voting against Democrats.

Wal-Mart has once again been exposed for what it really is: a corporation that will go to any length to put profits ahead of its workers. Wal-Mart has talked a lot about changing its ways on health care, the environment and workers rights, but this article shows that all that talk hasn't translated into action.
Since 1964, Wal-Mart has spread across America like a plague or cancer, wiping out untold numbers of small businesses on Main Street, polluting our environment, and contributing to an explosion in suburban sprawl.

This Flash animation documents the horrifying growth of Wal-Mart through the years, from Arkansas to every corner of the United States. It's hard not to feel sick watching the number of stores multiply like an uncontrollable infection.

The Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho) has relatively few Wal-Marts compared to the East Coast, in part because of the dominance of Issaquah-based Costco Wholesale, which has set the standard in the retail industry for treating workers and customers well, in addition to shareholders.

Costco is also more environmentally sensitive than Wal-Mart, where the words "corporate responsibility" are just that - words, and nothing more.

Wal-Mart is unfortunately one of the biggest, meanest, most powerful corporations in the world, sharing the title of America's largest company with ExxonMobil. But Wal-Mart isn't unstoppable. The company can be beaten - and it has been beaten.

You can make a difference, first and foremost by not shopping at Wal-Mart and second, by encouraging your family, friends, and neighbors not to shop there either. If you're yearning to do more,'s Action Center can help you get started watchdogging your local Wal-Mart, writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or planning an event.


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