Labor, Law, The Economy

Facing the threat of unionization, Wal-Mart closed its Jonquiere, Quebec store rather than pay its employees living wages and benefits. The Canadian store would have been the first union shop in the Wal-Mart empire.

Via Retro vs. Metro, which links to several news stories about the closure. Including this one by Roy J. Adams:

Not long ago, a butcher department in Texas certified a bargaining agent under U.S. law. Within weeks the company shut down the department and outsourced meat-cutting. Internal company documents indicate that remaining union free is a priority objective.

Many labour experts believe Wal-Mart’s plan in closing the Jonquière store and the unit in Texas is to send a signal to other employees who might contemplate exercising their right to organize that doing so is useless and, indeed, dysfunctional.

As is well known, Wal-Mart keeps its prices low by taking employee exploitation to new heights, including child labor, discrimination against women, and relying on government programs to provide health care for workers (who are paid so little they still qualify for poverty programs).

The AFL-CIO has an excellent website devoted to Wal-Mart. With a link to this petition you can sign to complain about the Jonquiere closing. And here is a letter (PDF file!) signed by a bunch of academics.

On a related note, here is a blog devoted to keeping New York City Wal-Mart free.

Finally, you can watch the PBS Frontline online.

UPDATE: Guess who was on Wal-Mart’s board?

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