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Wal-Mart Wants to Make Sure Its Employees Don't Vote Democratic

By Tula Connell  Posted by Stephen Crockett (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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Wal-Mart and all its $13 billion in 2007 profits are quaking. The retail monolith is scared that Democrats will be elected to office this fall—and might pass legislation that would level the playing field for workers seeking to join unions.

The Wall Street Journal reports on Wal-Mart’s corporate tremors today, noting that

in recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized.

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Downsides, huh? Like getting paid enough to support yourself and your family. Or maybe even the real big downside of having affordable job-based health insurance so that the emergency room isn’t the only option when your child has the flu. Because by not paying its employees enough to afford the company health plan, Wal-Mart dumps the cost of health care onto all taxpayers , even making it a corporate policy to encourage new hires to use public emergency rooms, according to author Barbara Ehrenreich.

(You can tell Wal-Mart to stop its unfair and immoral workplace intimidation by signing a petition here .)

Wal-Mart has been so intent upon piling up its billions in annual profits, it has created a mini-industry of anti-unionism to ensure it keeps its employees at everyday low wages. So, Wal-Mart is stepping up its efforts to prevent Democrats from being elected this fall, by telling employees that “voting for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in.” And Wal-Mart employees report feeling pressured to vote for candidates who oppose the Employee Free Choice Act.

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Wal-Mart is doing even more arm-twisting workers on their way to the ballot box. Rather than pay its employees a decent wage and provide affordable health care, Wal-Mart is putting mega bucks into front groups that are spearheading a multi-million dollar ad campaign to slam workers, their unions and their efforts to pass the Employee Free Choice Act .

For instance, Wal-Mart is the largest member of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, one of the main funders of the $30 million anti-union campaign called “Coalition for a Democratic Workplace .”

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney says this latest revelation of Wal-Mart’s egregious meddling into its employees’ voting preferences

goes to show the extent that companies like Wal-Mart will go to maintain the status quo, which allows them to exploit workers to maximize profit. It’s clear the business community intends to spend heavily to protect its interests but working people know this election is about creating real, lasting economic change.

Wal-Mart is ready to use its corporate power as America’s largest private employer to corrupt the political system to safeguard its profits. American Rights at Work has lots of info on Wal-Mart’s actions attacking the Employee Free Choice Act here and has a detailed report here on how Wal-Mart rolls back workers’ wages in an assault on the American Dream. Plus the worker advocacy organization also tracks the front groups behind the Employee Free Choice Act smear campaign, with info here .

Take action now and tell Wal-Mart stop intimidating its employees . Sign the petition here .

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Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio and author of the Democratic Voices opinion column.

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