Friday, August 1, 2008

The Separation of Retail and State?

The separation of church and state isn't the only separation dangerously deteriorated in this election season.

In case the grim images in Wall-E didn't make us all think twice about the ubiquity and economic/political influence of corporate behemoths, Wal-Mart just went and made themselves even more despicable.



From The Wall Street Journal:
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.

The actions by Wal-Mart -- the nation's largest private employer -- reflect a growing concern among big business that a reinvigorated labor movement could reverse years of declining union membership. That could lead to higher payroll and health costs for companies already being hurt by rising fuel and commodities costs and the tough economic climate.
...

"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.
...

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.

From commenter "Tom Cleaver" on The Carpetbagger Report:
Yeah, those fine upstanding entrepreneurs, the Walton family, might lose a few million of their $100 billion net family worth and wouldn’t be able to finish their underground “headquarters” at the family compound.

Several years ago, when Wal-Mart employees were holding a company-wide campaign to raise money for an emergency fund to aid the “associates” (what a godawful word - this word needs to become illegal in this context) when they had personal trouble.

The Walton Family, at that time worth a collective $98 billion, donated a whole $6,000 to the campaign.

The five members of the Walton family who control the company are half of the list of Ten Richest People on Earth.


(Thanks for the tip, Dad!)

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