Friday, August 01, 2008
Get Back in Line
Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Friday it has held meetings with U.S. store managers warning them of issues that could arise if Democrats win power and pass a law that would make it easier for workers to unionize, but stressed it was not telling workers how to vote.
Wal-Mart opposes proposed legislation called the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to unionize by signing a card rather than holding a vote. [...]
The Journal report said Wal-Mart human-resources managers who run the meetings do not specifically tell attendees how to vote in November's presidential election, but they make it clear that voting for Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in.
The weakening, and dismantling, of unions that began during the Reagan administration (and continued more or less uninterrupted since then) has not served America well. Yes, some unions go too far on some issues (corporations never do though!), but the alternative - a severely weakened and voiceless labor market - is considerably worse for most Americans. The pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.
Just one example: unions used to provide an effective check on out of control executive pay. Unions would rightly demand a cut of the pie when executives tried to give themselves out of proportion pay raises. It was exceedingly difficult for executives to argue that they deserved multi-million dollar raises, but that there was no money to offer a modest raise for the average company worker. The lack of union controls on this process is one of the factors that has led to vast disparities of wealth in the United States - disparaties not seen since the Gilded Age. To simplify matters: economies are stronger, and societies healthier, when the middle class is thriving. Unions can help to create a larger, more robust middle class.
Right. It's the unions that do that to workers. Better to trust management to take care of its employees. Which Wal-Mart has done a fine job of.
The Wall Street Journal reported that about a dozen employees who attended meetings in seven states said executives told them employees would be required to pay hefty union dues and get nothing in return, and warned that unionization could force Wal-Mart to cut jobs as labor costs rise.