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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Wall Mart's dirty tactics

Good morning!  We at the business desk would like to present you with an article which we feel may be of interest to you in light of our upcoming presidential elections in November.  If the contents of this article is true, then shame on Wall Mart!
We'll let you be the judge.
Have a great weekend.
 
 
Wall Mart remains one of the filthiest employers around ...
 

Wal-Mart denies that it told employees how to vote
By CHUCK BARTELS AND ANNE D'INNOCENZIO,
AP Business Writers
 
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, denied a report Friday
that it had pressured employees to vote against Democrats in November
because of worries that a bill the party supports would make it easier for
workers to unionize.
 
The measure, called the Employee Free Choice Act, would allow labor
organizations to unionize workplaces without secret ballot elections. It was
co-sponsored by Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic presidential
candidate, and opposed by John McCain, the presumed Republican nominee.
 
A report in The Wall Street Journal said the Bentonville, Ark.-based
discounter - which has rigorously resisted being unionized - had held
mandatory meetings with store managers and department supervisors in recent
weeks to warn that if Democrats take power in November, they would likely
push through the bill, which the company says would hurt workers.
 
Wal-Mart spokesman Dave Tovar told The Associated Press that the company did
discuss the bill with its employees, including what it sees as the negative
impact, and noted that the company's stand on the legislation is no secret.
 
"We believe the Employee Free Choice Act is a bad bill and we have been on
the record as opposed to it," he said.
 
But he said the company wasn't advocating that its employees vote against
backers of the legislation.
 
"If anyone representing Wal-Mart gave the impression... they are wrong and
acting without approval," said Tovar. In fact, he said that Wal-Mart has
been working with both Republicans and Democrats.
 
"Half of our (political action committee) contributions are to members of
each party," Tovar said. "We regularly educate our associates on issues
which impact our company, and this is an example of that."
 
The reported actions by Wal-Mart raised concerns among labor groups that the
company, the nation's largest private employer with 1.4 million workers, has
the power to exert influence in the elections.
 
"They're trying to bully the American political" scene, said Stewart Acuff,
assistant to the president of the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor
organization.
 
Wal-Mart may also be on thin ice as federal election rules allow businesses
to push for specific political candidates to shareholders, executives and
salaried managers, while prohibiting such actions for hourly workers, which
typically include department supervisors.
 
The Wall Street Journal cited about a dozen unidentified Wal-Mart employees
who had attended such meetings in seven states as saying they were told that
employees at unionized shops would have to pay big union dues while not
receiving any benefits in return.
 
Furthermore, workers said they were told that unionization would mean job
losses as costs rise, according to the report. The report said the Wal-Mart
human resource managers who held the meetings didn't specifically tell the
employees how to vote, but made it clear that a Obama victory would mean
unionization.
 
Wal-Mart Watch, a union-backed group that has criticized the company for
what it calls skimpy pay and benefits and poor treatment of its workers,
said in a statement that the article "demonstrates once again that Wal-Mart
intimidates its workers." The group, which supplied some of the sources to
The Wall Street Journal, said the stories cited in the article are
"consistent" with numerous reports it has received in the past week.
 
The development deals a blow to Wal-Mart's reputation just as the company
has started seeing its image improve and criticism diminish as it works to
improve
benefits and push through its "Save money, live better" campaign.
 
In a session with reporters after the company's annual shareholders meeting
in June, Wal-Mart President and CEO Lee Scott said Wal-Mart was comfortable
working with either presidential candidate. In the past, Wal-Mart had lined
up with the Republicans. But the company's message of environmental
sustainability, its program to offer $4 prescription drugs and improved
benefits for workers helped move the company to the political center.
 
"We stand ready to work with the new Congress and whoever is elected
(president)," Tovar said Friday.
 
Anne D'Innocenzio reported from New York. Associated Press Writer Ann Sanner
in Washington contributed to this report.

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