Winning the Labor Union Fight Against Wal-Mart

It seems to me that there is a fairly straightforward (but not necessarily simple) strategy for unionizing Wal-Mart.  As you probably know, Wal-Mart is so anti union that when the butchers organized a union, they eliminated their butchers.  When a Wal-Mart in Quebec unionized, they closed the store.

Why can’t a union develop a relationship with a unionized department store (or store that is willing to be unionized)?  This company could promise to develop a new store if Wal-Mart closes its store in the local market.  And the new company could promise to hire all of the current Wal-Mart employees for their new store, with the union covering any interim wages.  In fact, one could imagine the union taking out a lease on some large building close to the current Wal-Mart that could serve as a temporary replacement store for the community.  This way, Wal-Mart faces a difficult choice.  It can allow its store to be unionized, or it can close, and lose the market to a competitor.  

This may sound like it would cost a lot of money, but remember, Wal-Mart employees don’t make a lot of money, and the turnover is very high.  As people got new jobs, they’d be cut from the rolls.  And jobs at the new company would almost certainly pay more than their previous jobs.

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Programmers Guild: Harris Miller is a "Job Killer"

I just received the following letter from the Programmers Guild, an organization which "advances the interests of technical and professional workers in information technology (IT) fields" (bolding added for emphasis):

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Guide to sweatshop-free buying - why "buy blue" is not enough

This is another of my rambling screeds.  It concerns a subject near and dear to our hearts: Money.  The "buy blue" idea got some attention after the 2004 elections. (see http://www.buyblue.org/)  The idea is buying products from companies that donate to Democrats, and boycotting companies that donate to Republicans.  This sort of information is available on http://www.opensecrets.org/ and other sites.  "Buy American" has been a watchword for decades, especially during the 1980s and 1990s when we saw the bottom falling out of the Rust Belt's manufacturing base because of Reaganomics and globalization.  Another thing people do is buy local or maybe bioregional.  This is especially popular among Greens; buy from local farmers markets and so on.  There are also those who make a point of keeping their transactions in places like barter and eBay as much as possible, those who make a point of buying only "socially responsible" products such as recycled or environmentally friendly, and some individual companies people go out of their way to give business to like Citgo.

All those things are probably good, but they are not enough.  Some of them are based on flawed reasoning.  What I really want is to secede completely from the sweatshop economy.  It's not enough for a product to be environmentally friendly if the people making it got paid 75 cents an hour.  That's not even enough to eat decently on, much less send your kids to college.  It's also not enough to buy from a company that makes big donations to Democrats, if that same company is selling shelf after shelf of cheap goods made in China and dumped on the U.S. market.  It's not enough to buy American if companies can locate in Saipan or Guam where U.S. labor laws don't apply, pay workers $1/hour but still use the "made in USA" label.  This loophole was pointed out to me when I made an earlier comment about buying American.  For that matter there are American companies that are notorious union-busters, and some of them are even located in places like Ohio and California that are otherwise relatively pro-union states.

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A good reason for Dems to keep unions at arm's length

Happening to be in a library with an hour to kill earlier today, I started flipping through New Republics from 1992.

Pretty tedious generally - until I came across piece concerning the Newspaper and Mail Deliverers Union of New York and Vicinity (NMDU) and its then president, Douglas LaChance.

LaChance, it seems, had had a close business connection with one Peter "Petey Beck" DiPalermo, an enforcer for the Lucchese family.

In 1980, LaChance was convicted of extorsion and sentenced to five years.

In 1991, he was once more elected NMDU president.

(What a trooper!)

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Migrant workers left to die in UAE with no way home.

The Washington Post is reporting graphic details about the exploitation of some UAE migrant workers, who work on $4 to $7 a day. It seems that some workers who worked for the East Coast and Hamriah Company, who filed for bankruptcy, will not even get paid at all.


A sweltering fog still shrouded the East Coast & Hamriah Co. labor camp when, dressed in the equivalent of their Sunday best, the migrant workers set out after dawn Tuesday. They didn't shower beforehand. Water was cut last year to their shantytown, now abandoned by their employer. They didn't eat breakfast. They have no electricity to cook.


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