Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wal-Mart lies to employees about new union bill

Wal-Mart may be the subject of an investigation into whether it violated federal election laws by discouraging employees from voting Democratic this fall. Video released to the Wall Street Journal depicts store managers circulating inaccurate information about the Employee Free Choice Act, and calling Democratic efforts to pass the bill "scary."

In the hour-and-a-half meeting, held for managers in a Southern state, the leader tells employees that their wages may be reduced to minimum wage for up to three months before a contract is negotiated, that union authorization cards violate workers' right to privacy by including their Social Security numbers on them and that if a small unit within a store votes to unionize, the entire store will be unionized.

"If you have 10 associates in a photo lab and six sign union authorization cars, now the store is unionized," the meeting leader told employees. "Six people can make a decision for 350 people," which is about the average number of workers in a Walmart supercenter.


Wal-Mart CEO, Lee Scott; the National Association of Manufacturers, and the US Chamber of Commerce are some of the biggest players to come out against passage of the EFCA. Their public strategy has been to argue against the bill on the grounds that it would harm workers by exposing them to a more viable organizing process, leaving less room for company interference. But the fact that internal discussions (in this case, within Wal-Mart) do not mirror these public concerns, and in fact contain numerous fabrications about the law, suggests that industry is not being forthright in its objection to the bill.

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