a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Wal-Mart wins another one

Posted by Thomas Nephew on February 25th, 2005

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned an upcoming vote on unionizing a Loveland, Colorado Wal-Mart tire and lube department. Well, they voted against it… by 17-1. Wal-Mart trumpets the decision:

“The UFCW has tried to organize our associates for years,” said Terry Srsen, vice president of labor relations for Wal-Mart. “However, many of our associates are former union members — they know better than anyone that the only guarantee a union can make is that it will cost the members money — and that is why they continue to reject the UFCW.”

Who knows; trouble is, the ones who voted against it aren’t the same ones who asked for the vote last November. Nathan Newman (“Labor Blog”) notes a local paper’s estimate that as many as six of the 18 employees in the department are new since November, and comments:

With a third of the potential voters hand-picked by Wal-Mart since November with this vote in mind, it’s a bit as if an incumbent politician could randomly import massive numbers of new voters of his choosing each election. No incumbent would ever lose office in such a system and it would be considered a democratic farce.

Yet that’s our American union election system.*

Newman also makes the reasonable point that the recent decision by Wal-Mart to shut down a unionized Canadian outlet may have had a lot to do with today’s result. Silver lining department: Ezra Klein notices, and takes the opportunity to mention he’s going to be posting a lot more about labor issues; great! Maybe more people will notice what’s going on.

* As Texas Democrats can tell you — and as Georgians may be learning soon — that’s uncomfortably close to what the American regular election system is becoming as well.

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