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.


This strategy would probably work best in rural markets where Wal-Mart has basically cornered the market.  In this case, there would be continuing demand that would guarantee a good business for whatever company was ready to respond to it.  

Maybe there’s a reason why this wouldn’t work?  What do you think?

Tags: Labor, Unions, Wal-Mart (all tags)

Comments

1 Comment

Re: Winning the Labor Union Fight Against Wal-Mart

....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.

Um, Wal-Mart's already made that choice, as you noted. They just close the store and give the market to whomever. They've made their business decision; they'd rather not be in a market if they have to be there with union workers. So there's your answer.

As a business decision, your idea might work, but if I ran a W-M competitor, I sure wouldn't use my capital to sit around waiting for W-M to bail out of the next Quebec. I'd just go about my business, putting my money into the next expansion location we'd identified.

On the other hand, if my lawyers told me we wouldn't get sued or prosecuted, I might donate to the union trying to organize a Wally store in the next town I'm interested in expanding into...

by KB 2006-06-12 06:02AM | 0 recs

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