Walmart vs. Their Workers

WALMART vs. THEIR WORKERS….The anti-union zealots at Walmart are launching a preemptive strike against Barack Obama, who supports federal legislation that would make it easier to unionize:

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.

….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 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.

This is par for the course. Few companies are as rabidly anti-union as Walmart, and there was never any doubt where their sympathies lie on this issue. They have a habit of firing workers who try to organize their stores, closing down stores that vote to organize anyway, and outsourcing entire departments when multiple stores vote to organize. (See T.A. Frank’s “Everyday Low Vices” for more.) Bottom line: For these guys, warning people to vote against Barack Obama hardly even rates on the fear-o-meter. It almost warms my heart that they’re taking a Democratic win this seriously, to tell you the truth.

BTW, the last time I looked, labor costs were about 10% of revenues for Walmart. (Or is it Wal-Mart? Their own website can’t make up its mind.) If their “associates” did vote to join a union and fight for higher wages and benefits, the result would probably be an average increase in prices chain-wide of about 1-2%. Not exactly a catastrophe of Biblical proportions.