08/02/2008 09:43 am ET Updated 5 days ago

Wal-Mart's Desperate War Against Unionization

The nation's biggest private employer is also its most notorious union-hater.  The Wall Street Journal reported that Wal-Mart has been swaying workers from voting Democrat this November, fearing that the Democrats' proposed Employee Free Choice Act would make unionizing possible in Wal-Mart stores.

In an act that reeks of desperation, the mega retailer has been holding "mandatory" meetings for thousands of store managers and department heads, scaring their employees by stressing the "downsides" of unionization.  

From the WSJ:

"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 Employee Free Choice Act that Wal-Mart so adamantly opposes would enable labor groups to organize with a "card check" system instead of the current single secret-ballot election that is prone to anti-union protests from Wal-Mart corporate.  Barack Obama co-sponsored EFCA, and not surprisingly, John McCain opposed it. 

While it's illegal for Wal-Mart to tell workers who to vote for, the WSJ claimed that employees said Wal-Mart's human recources managers told them that "voting for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in." 

While the WSJ report is certainly stunning, it's by no means a shocker.  Wal-Mart's anti-union track record has been appalling for years.  They spend millions flying in their "rapid response teams" on private jets from their Bentonville, AK headquarters just to quash any suspected union activity.  And when employees are actually successful in unionizing, the company treats that department (or entire store) like a cancerous tumor and has it excised.

Wal-Mart's latest stunt just proves unionization is their worst nightmare.  It would mean they would have to pay workers wages that aren't below the poverty line.  It would mean they would have to provide workers with adequate health care coverage.  Hell, it would mean they would have to treat their workers with fairness and decency for a change.

And as to Wal-Mart scaring workers into believing that if Democrats win in November, they will lose, I ask this: if you're a Wal-Mart employee who's making a meager hourly wage that doesn't even cover the cost of food for your family or doctors' visits for your children, haven't you lost already?