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Comments

Jason

If the auto repair workers unionize at Wal-Mart I don't think it would impact Wal-Mart employees generally.

In fact, I doubt that the auto repair workers will unionize and if they do I believe that Wal-Mart will simply change their business plan regarding auto repair centers at their stores(if you know what I mean). Either of these events will not have anything except cursory repercussions in the workforce of Wal-Mart.

At the core of Wal-Mart's business plan is cheap non-union labor. I predict it will stay that way, much to the chagrin of union activists and Democrats everywhere.

Hornberger

Hey, as long as they keep the prices coming down and nothing between me and my precious food.

As an aside, I stole money from the house.

Clay Calhoun

Basically, the workers understand that there are more potential benefits by not being aligned with a union. The vote also confirms how out of touch union leadership is with their membership. Why else would an organization push for a vote that would go down 17-1?

Alva Adams

Sorry, Clay, but that's not a fair conclusion to draw from the vote. You can't just have a union election anytime you feel like it - you need a good measure of support to even try. It's not like they walked in there and said, "Okay, let's vote on a union" - it's a lot more complicated than that.

The 17-1 vote actually signals that something went wrong between the organizing and the vote, and it's more than a little fishy that the vote would be so lopsided. Wal-Mart had to exert some sort of pressure or influence to get the majority of those workers to completely change their mind.

You can argue whether or not Wal-Mart should be unionized, but that 17-1 vote doesn't indicate that it was a heavy-handed attempt by the UFCW that had no support to begin with. If they knew that 99% of the workers didn't want a union, they never would have went to a vote.

Hornberger

Or it could be an indication that the folks in Longmont followed what happened in Canada. And that the Canadian store closure happened after the Longmont folks had organized enough to have a vote, but before the vote happened.

Alva Adams

Could be, but it still seems odd. In Colorado, organizing a union requires two votes: one vote to agree to vote on the union, and then a final vote to approve it. You would need at least 50 percent of the members to vote to approve taking it to a final vote, so the fact that such a high percentage dropped the idea altogether after initially approving smells of something.

Quaker in a Basement

Why in the world would Wal-Mart keep union reps from observing the vote? That just raises all kinds of red flags, doesn't it?

As for the vote, here's my guess:

The company hassled pro-union workers into quitting, packed the shop with hand-picked union-busters, and threatened whoever was left that they'd shut the place down if the vote went the wrong way.

If there's no support for the union left among the remaining workers, I don't see what can stop the company from getting away with it.

David

Quaker is correct. Its most likely that Walmart got rid of their pro union workers. This is a company that will stoop to any level to screw their workers.

Wild_Thing

I think its a bit sensationalistic to say that workers are "screwed" by Wal-Mart.

David

Its not sensationalistic at all. They are paid substandard wages to the point that they have to apply for public welfare benefits. Their business model is to drive down labor costs for all in whatever market they are in. They actually train their workers on how to apply for benefits. I suggest you watch the episode frontline did on how they treat their workers and take advantage of communities. They are a horrendous company.

Wild_Thing

Wal-Mart, a horrendous company? Wow. Now, that's just funny.

The company offers profit-sharing opportunities to all of their employees. Their wages are simply not substandard for the employees level, you can't expect to support a family off an entry level retail job. But the company is extremely loyal, hiring and promoting from within; almost all management staff started by pushing carts.

While some individual managers felt the pressure to perform (which is good), but took that and violated company policies (which is bad). So, Wal-Mart instituted reforms that make it impossible for many of the former abuses to take place; registers shut off, once a person has worked the maximum number of hours, etc.

David, you and I trading charges on this forum is highly subjective -- there is only one fact here that can settle the dispute. 17 out of the 18 Wal-Mart workers agreed with me - Wal-Mart is a great company.

David

17 out 18 employees who were left after the company likely forced out the pro union employees. Walmart's ill-treatment of its workers is well documented.

Erik

Just FYI- the Wal-Mart in question is in Loveland, not Longmont.

Chris Stine

Wow, David, Quaker in the Basement and even Alva seem to believe whatever the unions say.
Alva, you dismiss Clay's comments out of hand but then go onto make your own assessment of the vote without any back up saying it sounds "fishy". I need a better reason to believe you than you thinking it is "fishy."
David, If people hate working at Wal-Mart then they should leave. Basic economic principle of supply and demand, they demand labor and I supply it at a price that is determined by both sides. If the wage is not high enough I quit, if it is too high they don't hire me.

Quaker in the Basement, you sound just like the union press release. Also, everything you said that Wal-Mart likely did is illegal and while I know that corporations have done illegal things in the past, I doubt Wal-Mart wants more bad press via a lawsuit.

Alva Adams

Read the comments in full. Here's what I wrote:

"In Colorado, organizing a union requires two votes: one vote to agree to vote on the union, and then a final vote to approve it. You would need at least 50 percent of the members to vote to approve taking it to a final vote, so the fact that such a high percentage dropped the idea altogether after initially approving it smells of something."

Unions can't force an organizing vote - they had to have a good deal of support to organize to even get to a final vote. Wal-Mart may have brought in extra people to help the votes come out their way, but let's suppose for the sake of argument that all 18 people were there from the beginning. That would mean that at least 9 of them voted in favor of organizing in the original vote, enough to force the final vote. Then, for some reason, all but one changed their minds? Just like that?

At least have of the original voters at one point thought a union was a good idea, and then they changed their minds. Let's take the word "union" out of the argument. Suppose you were holding a vote for student council president, between John and Bill. If before the vote half of the voters told you that they were going to vote for John, and then when the ballots were counted all but one voted for Bill, you can honestly tell me that you wouldn't at least raise an eyebrow?

Look, we don't think Wal-Mart is likely to unionize anytime soon because their business model depends on low wages and benefits. But laughing this off as unions trying to force a vote on workers that don't really want it just shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how the process works.

And I don't even know where to begin to start with your horribly callous argument "if they don't like it, why don't they just leave?" That's a true high-horse statement if there ever was one. If people in third-world countries don't like their terrible living conditions, why don't they just leave? Why don't the people of North Korea, who suffer under a sorry regime, just leave the country?

For some people, for the unfortunate, decisions aren't that easy. The people who take these jobs NEED these jobs because in many cases they don't have somewhere else to go, and they need to feed their families. Unions have done a lot of things wrong over the years, but they've also helped a lot of people who don't have the ability, the resources, or the options to help themselves. "Why don't they just leave?" is a truly insensitive and heartless way to dismiss the argument.


Chris Stine

Alva, Here is the problem. You assume that people cannot or will not change their minds about union organization. Yes, I understand that a majority of workers have to be in favor of an organizing vote. Did you consider that Wal-Mart closing a store in Canada was a shot across the bow and rather than losing their jobs the workers here in Colorado decided it was not in their best interest to unionize?

Your straw man argument about voting for student council president distracts from the argument at hand. It is like the liberal pundits who were screaming after the 2004 election that the vote was wrong and the exit polls were right. The results are the results and while you do not like them that does not change the result.

I do understand how the union works; growing up in a union family I understand how they force their views on union members and how they try to force their way into non-union shops. I have seen the harassment first hand when my dad would not play their games.

Again, as a liberal you try to bring emotion into economics and it just doesn't work. Sure I am sorry that the people of the third world and North Korea suffer, but it is up to them to change their circumstances. Our Founding Fathers recognized the need for change and made the changes they felt were warranted. It was not a high horse statement, it is a true statement.

You are absolutely right that some of the people at Wal-Mart need the jobs to pay their bills but, if you understand economics and basic workface supply and demand, you will understand that people start at the bottom and work their way up.
People who are just starting out don't understand the job well don't get paid as much as someone more seasoned. Once they can prove themselves they will make more.

Wal-Mart is not there to give people jobs, they are in business to make money for their shareholders.

Union history shows that they were started to help get better work conditions for employees and to standardize the eight hour day, but they have strayed far from their original purpose. They have helped people, but they have hurt and even killed people to advance their cause.

The economy does not have a heart and it is insensitive. It has no place for emotion.

Phoenix Rising

Wow, Chris. A bit bitter in the upbringing, are we?

Let's see: we had a >50% vote FOR holding a unionizing vote, and then we get a ~6% vote for actually unionizing? That's a an 84% drop. Something is most definitely "fishy". Agree or disagree with unions (and I do agree that they have a "colorful" history), you have to agree that it appears there was an attempt at union-busting here. Just as corporations are there to provide profit to shareholders, unions are there to provide real representation to individuals in the face of giant corporations; union-busting is generally considered "bad" by legal standards.

As to your Wal-Mart defense, here's a rebuttal...

Wal-Mart, in multiple states:
* Under-pays its workers, compared to other retail outlets.
* Alters worker timecards to remove company-"suggested" worker overtime.
* Locks workers into stores and leaves them without a key to get out.
* Forces children to work with chainsaws and other heavy machinery.
* Hires illegal immigrants for janitorial work.
* Discriminates against women in promotion.
* Bullies local governments into granting tax breaks that hurt local revenue.
* "Proposes" and plans around eminent domain land grabs that hurt private land ownership rights.

To offset this poor reputation, it:
* Offers health-care, profit-sharing, and other plans - which workers can't afford.
* Promotes its local investments (of which I have yet to see a single one...)

And they don't even remember their "Made in USA" roots now that Sam Walton is dead.

Chris Stine

Phoenix Rising,

Thanks for the rant. I just have to say that if something smells fishy, than you can show me the proof, otherwise it is all simantics.

Sure Wal-Mart has done things wrong and they have been called the carpet for it. I am not saying they are perfect. If you think you have a good case against Wal-Mart then by all means sue away. You and all the other anti-corporate folks surly understand that if you bring Wal-Mart down that 600,000 Americans lose their jobs. But of course I forgot, every single one of them hates their jobs because Wal-Mart is Evil.

By the way, here are some nice things that Wal-Mart has done:

-They have donated 44 turck loads of water bottles for our troops overseas

-They have given 170 million in charitible contributions in 2004. (which is more than any other corporation.

-They gave 8.5 million to the completion of the WWII Memorial.

-They have given financial support to hurricane victims, tsunami victims, and have a disaster relief team.

Try not to point out only the bad.

anahi

How and where can I apply for a job opportunity for the new wal-mart located in longmont colorado

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