Wal-Mart has a reputation for working hard to avoid unionization. The company says it does not need unions because it takes care of its employees. It surveys employees regularly, and many workers have been promoted from cashier and stocker jobs to management jobs. A company-wide stock ownership program has generated significant long-term returns for employees.
Unions counter that Wal-Mart uses an aggressive union prevention program and even unfair labor practices to prevent unionization. When unions have won elections in some Wal-Mart locations, the firm has outsourced jobs to independent contractors and even closed stores. Even in Canada, Wal-Mart has been aggressive at resisting unionization despite more union-friendly Canadian laws.
Regardless of the why, virtually no workers are unionized at Wal-Mart in the U.S. To put more pressure on Wal-Mart, unions have formed a coalition called Wal-Mart Watch (http://walmartwatch.com), which targets Wal-Mart’s organizational practices. For instance, bad publicity about deficiencies in health benefits offered by Wal-Mart have led to the firm revising its plans. It has also has encouraged workers to file legal complaints that Wal-Mart has violated anti-discrimination laws.
The ultimate goal of the Watch is to be able to unionize employees at Wal-Mart because of its huge number of workers. As Wal-Mart grows and adds more stores, its growth also results in the decline or closing of other retailers, which often employ a significant number of unionized workers.
Respond to ONE of the following by 11:59 PM EST/EDT Thursday:
- Do you agree or disagree with Wal-Mart’s desire to keep unions out of their stores? Why or why not?
- Navigate to http://walmartwatch.com and review some of the articles and blogs. Do you believe that Wal-Mart’s actions have violated the provisions of the Wagner Act or other organized labor laws? Why or why not?