Today on Blogcritics
Home » Walmart and Unions

Walmart and Unions

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter1Share on Facebook1Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Walmart is notorious for union busting. They’ve taken measures to keep all unions out of their stores. Today, I heard on the radio that there had been a union finally formed in a Canadian Walmart, but that Walmart would be closed rather than allow a union to form.

Walmart has the pleasure and the pain of being the best at what they do, the first in the crowd. I don’t think that other stores are so much worse than walmart.

Walmart got to its level of prominence because it gathered together its buying power and leveraged it to get prices and products that were beneficial to it’s goals. They get the most amazing prices across the board.

That’s why people shop there.

Now, in a huge ironic twist, they want to keep that leveraging power all on their side. Unions are about a group of laborers, who individually might be insignifiant, banding together to demand things beneficial to them.

Guess what? That’s not fair. Walmart needs to know that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Whose budget items need to be changed? Store managers make more than the greeters do. And the corporate people are not making 7 bucks an hour.

There has to be a way. A way that is equitable. I challenge the corporation to find it.

About Murphy

  • http://emeraldcitycomments.blogspot.com/ Roy Smith

    There has to be a way. A way that is equitable. I challenge the corporation to find it.

    And Costco has found it!

    From an article about Costco, Company for the People:

    Costco’s average U.S. hourly wage of approximately $16 an hour is widely considered to be the best in the retail business. And its approach to health care, as noted in a report at the time by the financial research and investment firm Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., “has been to provide employees with the best plan at the least expense to the employee.”

    The wage at Costco starts at $10 an hour and, as of next March, rises to $18.32— excluding twice a year bonuses of between $2,000 and $3,000 for those at the top wage for more than a year. In comparison, unionized grocery clerks around Puget Sound, very good jobs as retail goes, start at $7.73 an hour and top out at $18.

    Costco is whipping Sam’s Club (a subsidiary of Wal-mart) in the marketplace. For a recent comparable 52-week period, Costco’s net sales were 28 percent higher even though it has one-third fewer stores. Says Phil Bonanno, a retail analyst for the Massachusetts research firm Management Ventures, “Costco outperforms Sam’s Club on almost every product measure you can think of: sales per building, sales per item, inventory turns [how quickly merchandise moves], sales per square foot.”

  • Dave Rag

    We all know how Walmart is a vampire that destroys local economies by forcing suppliers to get the cheapest deals possible.

    But if Walmart prefers to self-destruct rather than let their employees unionize, then let’s force them to self-destruct.

    They are in the business of making money, they won’t be able to close down shops all over Canada.

    Personnally, I would like to see them out of Quebec.

  • http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s2i7431 Dave Rag

    Hey check out that fake story, about Walmarts closing down.

    Pretty neat

    http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s2i7431

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You know, if you take a list of the countries with the highest level of unionization and a list of the countries with the highest level of growth in their GDP you’ll notice that the lists are almost exactly the same, but in reverse order.

    Think about it.

    Dave

  • http://www.exportingourjobs.com Brandon Weber

    For more news about Wal-Mart unionization efforts and even a game where you help the Wal-Mart workers get across the aisle, please go to

    http://www.exportingourjobs.com

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    dave n – why don’t you tell us about it? Please.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>dave n – why don’t you tell us about it? Please.

    I will in an article in the next couple of days.

    I observed this trend while looking at some other economic figures and it caught my eye. I need to do more thorough research with absolutely current figures before I write it up. Plus I want to include info on some other related trends.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    I support the original concept of unions, to protect the workers, but I think the unions of today are outdated and have not kept pace with the changes of society. They are huge behemoths who drain money from everybody around them and make deals that are in the best interest of the union and that no longer means in the best interest of the employee.

    I wish the entire union structure would be torn down and rebuilt from scratch. I also hope that with Dean becoming DNC, he will be such an effective fundraiser on a grassroots level, that the Democratic party can break away from it’s ties with the unions. I think those ties harm the party more than help, and it’s the money that keeps them together. There’s talk of getting that money from individuals instead, and becoming known for being a party of the people and not of special interests. I hope that is true and that comes to pass.

    With that said, there does need to be somebody looking out for the employee. The idea of unions is a good idea, hopefully they can be rebuilt rather than just done away with.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    The key thing that went wrong with unions is when they developed a professional and self-perpetuating class of ‘union organizers’ and stopped being run by people who came up purely from the ranks on merit.

    Dave

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    In a way, the problem with unions is a scale model of problems in the federal government: no accountability for the funds collected, leaders who are focused on keeping and using their power and increasing the funds they have to play with, and broken or non-existant checks and balances.

    And befuddled workers/taxpayers with no power to change the system so it does work again.

  • Ken V

    Before you invest much time in your “reverse order” theory, Dave, you might want to do a little more research.

    http://www.geocities.com/whitalone/productivity.htm

    “In this study, an analysis of the seven largest capitalist economies, also known as the G7, revealed that labor-management co-operation has significant effects on long-term productivity growth.

    Clearly these studies reinforce the idea that union activity can help a company in both productivity and competitive gains. It also strengthens the notion that product demand will be highest in countries where worker rights are strong. Historically, this explains why the period from the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s is exemplified by real wage and productivity gains that created a self-reinforcing economic mechanism that produced a significant rise in the standard of living.”

    So you see, Dave, the relationship between worker’s rights and standard of living is direct and not reverse at all.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Well Ken, did I say anything about standard of living? Pretty sure that wasn’t what I was going to analyze. Sure, unionized workers make more money. My premise is that they live better at the expense of other workers who end up unemployed or underemployed. Based on the research I’ve done so far it appears to be a position supported by a number of prominent economists and all the data, so I’ll just carry on.

    Dave

  • http://emeraldcitycomments.blogspot.com/ Roy Smith

    Dave says: Sure, unionized workers make more money. My premise is that they live better at the expense of other workers who end up unemployed or underemployed.

    I tried applying this argument to the Costco example (see Comment 1) and I failed to figure out who was ending up unemployed or underemployed.

    I then reasoned that maybe the people who were suffering were shareholders (Wall Street tried to say that about Costco) but Costco stockholders don’t seem particularly unhappy.

    I will buy Dave’s argument if you are talking about unions who have been so unreasonable about their demands that they have driven their employers into unprofitability (and there are certainly examples of unions that have been that unreasonable). However, short of that point, I am inclined to give more weight to the idea that you get better business performance (in all areas, including profits) if management and labor have a cooperative relationship, and one typical vehicle for this cooperation is collective bargaining (i.e., unions).

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I’m only suggesting it as a nationwide or at least regional dynamic, not on a company by company basis. I think it explains the higher unemployment in the more unionized states and the higher unemployment in the super-unionized EU countries.

    Dave

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    Isn’t it interesting is that all it takes to tip a Wal-mart store into oblivion is asking them to start treating their workers in an equal, free, open basis.

    Considering they have about 50 per cent annual turnover in staff, and they are worried that in the USA, 20 per cent of their customer base may become too poor to shop there, I think their protests about labour costs are nothing more than ideological bullshit.

    But then, they allow unions in their supplier and operations s in China, and hell, no, we don’t need none of that freedom stuff.

  • http://emeraldcitycomments.blogspot.com/ Roy Smith

    You might say this is an exception too, since it is largely driven by one company, but Washington is one of the most unionized states in the country (thanks to Boeing) but it doesn’t typically suffer higher rates of unemployment than the rest of the country.

    Unemployment in Washington may be higher than the national average at the moment, but that is clearly hangover from the dot.com bust, which hit Seattle particularly badly – nothing to do with unions. Throughout most of the late nineties, Washington’s unemployment rate was almost absurdly low – certainly way below what economists like to call the “full employment unemployment rate”.

  • bill walker

    You know what, I work in a Wal-Mart, and I have never been treated unfairly. Will a union protect me? Maybe, but from what, we have nearly unlimited chances when we make mistakes. We aren’t paid horribly, I would like to make more, but a union more than likely would not help with that. Many people talk bad about Wal-Mart, but we rarely hear about the bad. Why? Yes, some small business may close down. Those businesses were charging customers too high of a price, for the same or similar items. And think of the money that the consumer saves because of the lower price. If you compare to shopping carts of identical items, one bought at WalMart, and the other your grocery store, the WalMart cart will cost you nearly $40 less. Add that $40 up over 12 months, that $480 could go to so many other things. I just think it is time to stop thinking of WalMart as the big ugly monster. Ask the ‘associates’ around the continent, see what they think, WalMart has its flaws, all companies do, but there has to be a reason that it was voted one of the best companies to work for by it’s own associates

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    A part of the decline of unions was when businesses got much more greedy, when public companies became the norm, and didn’t want to show loyalty to their workers any longer. This made unions much more desperate and they never wanted to give an inch, afraid that the company would stretch that to a mile.

    Because of this, now there are plenty of examples of unions acting like stupid twits – and that has accelerated their decline.

    I hope your GDP post will be serious – and can be taken seriously. One that doesn’t take us all for a bunch of chumps.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    That Wal-Mart ad brought to you by the fine folks at BW Biggs.

  • lisa moore

    Bill,

    I worked at a Wal*Mart for 6 1/2 years and believe me everything negative they say about Wal*Mart is TRUE!!!

    In fact, they create and set you up to fall if they don’t like you. (which I saw time and time again)

    Don’t be a fool, Wal*Mart is an EVIL place. Money is the root of all EVIL and the love of Money is all Wal*Mart cares about!

    My advice, unionize it…and bring them to there knees!

    Oh what a glorious day that will be :)

    WarmNtight…OUT!

  • Turcot

    I definietly think that Bill’s argument was much more well put than yours Lisa.

    One thing that nobody has mentioned about Walmart is the fact that the MAIN reason they are on top (they couldnt’ leverage the way they do when they were small) is due to INVENTORY CONTROL.
    Way back when, Walmart invested heavily in IC so they could clear their shelves faster and stock them with the right things sooner. The result: most of the items from their suppliers, they’ve sold before they even have to pay for it (standard practise with suppliers is usually to make a payment within 30 days). In the meantime, they can use your money to earn them more. That’s called smart! They did make an empire off legitimate investments in technology (and not just by being “EVIL”).
    Once self checkout stations and self facing shelves are installed… what is left for Walmart employees to do that adds significant value?

    I have worked in the automotive industry and one thing can be said: the unionized workers (though alot are GREAT guys) have a mentality of “work to rule” and those that try to break out of this get slapped down by the rest. There is little to no job satisfaction and people show up to work to do the montions only because it earns them paycheck.

    I understand the need to have unions in the past; to look out for employee rights and safety, but major corporations know that now. At the current plant I work at; the company looks out for employee safety more than the employees want! If you do something unsafe, you’ll get time off… and something that could get you seriously hurt will get you fired. Zero tolerance.
    This mentatlity of large companies is probably due to union pressures from the past; but the lesson is well learnt.

    It was said that unions have now forgotten their purpose, I think in some cases that is definitely true. What is has now caused is employees whos jobs can be taught in 15 minutes, working 20% as hard as your average Walmart cashier making over 60,000$/year. The unions need to understand that it isn’t an us vs. them scenario. They want more when the profits are good, but want to hear nothing of it when the company reports losses. Go figure, since NHL owners wanted to save their businesses (and that’s what a hockey team is… at least for people who have their own money at stake), the union kept up the high wages and now the season is gone.

  • http://www.GoreallaEntertainment.com j.Diablo

    David Challenges Goliath… Texas independent record label threatens Wal-Mart with a 100 million dollar lawsuit

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    March 4, 2005, In a statement released today Kirk Phillips, chief executive of Houston based record label GoreallaEntertainment.com, is publicly putting Wal-Mart on notice: “Carry our product, in the original unedited format or face serious legal action.”

    Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer and record store have a standing policy since 1996 of not stocking CDs, which carry parental advisory labels. Phillips cries foul whenever the policy is mentioned.

    “It is time to level the playing field,” says Phillips “Wal-Mart has been making money ‘Just below the public consciousness’ off the sale of risqué, salacious, or otherwise objectionable entertainment items for years.” “While at the same, Wal-Mart’s ridiculously unfair policy aimed at keeping so-called indecent products of the shelves has been in effect and that very policy is financially oppressing independent record labels,” asserts Phillips.

    Wal-Mart is accused of trying to keep the independent record labels out of the lucrative global retail market by making it more expensive for them to compete. “ I must manufacture a whole separate run of edited product just for Wal-Mart… have you seen the edited version of Hollywood movie at Wal-Mart?” “Neither have I,” grumbles Phillips “and that’s just wrong!”

    “Hollywood DVDs are sold unedited in Wal-Mart with a simple R rating and a perfunctory disclaimer; and likewise video games are sold unedited in Wal-Mart with just the “self-governing” rating system sans the cursory disclaimer contained on DVDs. They both contain the same type of potentially objectionable material that is required to be censored by record companies.”

    Wal-Mart has profited to the tune of hundreds of millions dollars off the sales of graphically violent, profanity laced video game titles (The Grand Theft auto series of games: GTAIII, GTA Vice City, and GTA San Andreas, to name a few).

    “Requiring independent record companies to edit their albums slated for sale in Wal-Mart puts them at a competitive disadvantage to big-budget record labels, big-budget video game producers, and big-budget Hollywood movie studios: our direct competition for the same retail entertainment dollars” says Phillips.

    “This is the Bottom line, if Wal-Mart uses their oppressive anti-small business policy to keep our forthcoming album off of their retail shelves, then they should get ready to face our legal team and a 100 million dollar lawsuit in return, period.”

    The upcoming release by GoreallaEntertainment.com artist X-Conn is titled “Mister Number One” and is scheduled for a May 17th release via prospective distributor Select-O-Hits.

    -END-

    For more information: http://www.GoreallaEntertainment.com/contact.html

  • http://www.walmartsux.com Lisa Moore

    Sam Walton reaches out from the grave to help unionize wal*mart workers

    (For immediate release)

    Sam Walton reaches out from the grave to encourage Wal*Mart workers to join the Union

    Saturday, March 19, 2005

    Waipahu, Hawaii- The late Retail Supermogul, Sam Walton has been dead for 13 years, but, that isn’t

    stopping him from making a comeback as a union organizer. A new website has Sam Walton

    reminding all those overworked and badly treated associates to “regain their self-respect” and don’t

    take what’s being dished out to them by the Walton family and CEO, Lee Scott.

    WalMartSux.com (SUX: an acronym for Supplemental Union eXchange) created by ex-sales associate,

    Louie Maytorena, puts out a call for action to all employees to STOP listening to the billionaire heirs

    and focus instead on Sam’s words of practicing “true respect for the individual”.

    Louie tells us that “Too many associates are their worst enemy. Constantly listening to their own

    fears.” I say, “Stop cowering as a result of your happy-face-everything-is-OK-brain-washing and, with

    Sam’s help, make history by being the first store in the United States of America to become

    unionized.”

    It didn’t take very long after Sam’s earthly departure that the remaining family members started

    taking the Wal*Mart Store empire down a very dark path. “They have taken Sam’s good intentions

    and completely corupt everything he stood for and admired, particularly the integrity and hard work of

    his beloved associates and replaced by the lure of the Mighty Dollar”.

    “Everyday going to work, seemed like dreamland. Nothing ever made any sense.” Louie adds,

    “I myself was fired from Wal*Mart for wanting to use the restroom on my lunchbreak.” Louie explains

    with a curious expression on his face. “Maybe it had something to do with my open worker’s comp

    case due to my permanent injury to both my back and knee sustained by pushing pallet loads in

    excess of 2300 lbs. for many years in the Food department despite my protest and suggestion in

    obtaining a powered pallet-jack to push these heavy loads”. Wal*Mart’s loud response,

    “Absolutely…NOT!, these jacks cause injury and are a liability”! Duh…Ya Think? So they made me a

    “greeter” instead. A position created, in my opinion, as a one-way ticket out the door.

    Even though Louie is no longer employed by the retail giant, this doesn’t stop him from helping those

    still on the inside. “Do it for Sam…” the website proclaims, “…and call the UCFW Ohana today.

    Louie believes that Mr. Walton would be proud to lead a new Wal*Mart cheer for the next century.

    One that would begin with, “Give me an R-E-S-P-E-C-T – WHAT DOES IT SPELL?”.

  • Scott Butki

    Good post. Have you seen the new movie about Wal-Mart? I watched it today and it touched on some of these topics. I also wrote on some new Wal-Mart news.