Hillary Clinton and Wal-Mart

Why do labor groups support Hillary?  Supposedly, “Clinton has been endorsed for president by more than a dozen unions, according to her campaign Web site, which omits any reference to her role at Wal-Mart in its detailed biography of her” (http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4218509). 

Hillary’s chief strategist, Mark Penn, who is the “Worldwide President and CEO for Burson-Marsteller, an international PR conglomerate known for . . . busting unions”

(http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2007/03/hillary-clintons-union-doublespeak.php’). 

She had a seat on Wal-Mart’s board of directors for, I think, six years prior to 1992 (and what notable political event happened to her family in 1992 that would have made a Wal-Mart connection inconvenient?), after which the seat conveniently ceased to exist.  In other words, it was not a fillable seat, it was one that existed for her

But how anti-union is Wal-Mart?  Let’s let them tell you . . .

Wal-Mart Training

But are its claims accurate?  Do Wal-Mart employees need a *horror movie music* UNION?!?!?

Check out http://wakeupwalmart.com/facts/.

“Wal-Mart Anti-Union Policy

Wal-Mart closes down stores and departments that unionize

  • Wal-Mart closed its store in Jonquierre, Quebec in April 2005 after its employees received union certification. The store became the first unionized Wal-Mart in North America when 51 percent of the employees at the store signed union cards. [Washington Post, 4/14/05]
  • In December 2005, the Quebec Labour Board ordered Wal-Mart to compensate former employees of its store in Jonquiere Quebec. The Board ruled that Wal-Mart had improperly closed the store in April 2005 in reprisal against unionized workers. [Personnel Today, 12/19/05]
  • In 2000, when a small meatcutting department successfully organized a union at a Wal-Mart store in Texas, Wal-Mart responded a week later by announcing the phase-out of its in-store meatcutting company-wide. [Pan Demetrakakes, “Is Wal-Mart Wrapped in Union Phobia?” Food & Packaging 76 (August 1, 2003).]

Wal-Mart has issued “A Manager’s Toolbox to Remaining Union Free,”

  • This toolbox provides managers with lists of warning signs that workers might be organizing, including “frequent meetings at associates’ homes” and “associates who are never seen together start talking or associating with each other.” The “Toolbox” gives managers a hotline to call so that company specialists can respond rapidly and head off any attempt by employees to organize. [Wal-Mart, A Manager’s Toolbox to Remaining Union Free at 20-21]

Wal-Mart is committed to an anti-union policy

  • In the last few years, well over 100 unfair labor practice charges have been filed against Wal-Mart throughout the country, with 43 charges filed in 2002 alone.
  • Since 1995, the U.S. government has been forced to issue at least 60 complaints against Wal-Mart at the National Labor Relations Board. [International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Internationally Recognised Core Labour Standards in the United States: Report for the WTO General Council Review of the Trade Policies of the United States (Geneva, January 14-16, 2004)]
  • Wal-Mart’s labor law violations range from illegally firing workers who attempt to organize a union to unlawful surveillance, threats, and intimidation of employees who dare to speak out. [“Everyday Low Wages: The Hidden Price We All Pay for Wal-Mart,” A Report by the Democratic Staff of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, 2/16/04] ” (From wakeupwalmart, above)

Or if you think that site biased, look at the Human Rights Watch.  Yup, that’s right.  Human Rights Watch.

http://www.hrw.org/reports/2007/us0507/2.htm#_Toc164069630

 How does this affect Hillary?

 Hillary was not adverse to using her Wal-Mart experience to champion causes she believed in.

“Fellow board members and company executives, who have not spoken publicly about her role at Wal-Mart, say Mrs. Clinton used her position to champion personal causes, like the need for more women in management and a comprehensive environmental program, despite being Wal-Mart’s only female director, the youngest and arguably the least experienced in business. On other topics, like Wal-Mart’s vehement anti-unionism, for example, she was largely silent, they said.” (MICHAEL BARBARO, “Clinton Moved Wal-Mart Board, But Only So Far,” New York Times, May 20, 2007, italics mine).

Is she still connected?

“Despite her criticism, Mrs. Clinton maintains close ties to Wal-Mart executives through the Democratic Party and the tightly knit Arkansas business community. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, speaks frequently to Wal-Mart’s current chief executive, H. Lee Scott Jr., about issues like health care and even played host to Mr. Scott at the Clintons’ home in New York last July for a private dinner.

 

And several months ago, Mrs. Clinton helped broker a secret meeting between a top Wal-Mart executive and former Democratic operative, Leslie Dach, and leaders of the retailer’s longtime adversary at the United Food and Commercial Workers union, according to several people briefed on the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to do so publicly.

The goal of the meeting was to tamp down the rancor between the company and the union, which has set up a group, WakeUpWalMart.com, that has harshly criticized the chain and leaked embarrassing internal documents to the news media, though an accord has not yet been reached”  (Barbaro). 

Quite frankly, Hillary’s appeals to labor and claims to want to increase the American “middle class” are hollow, empty appeals towards an audience, the American labor force (not to mention Wal-Mart’s notorious international sweatshop labor force, local communities affected by Wal-Mart’s practices, etc), that Hillary seems perpetually intent on betraying.  A vote for Hillary is a vote against the poor and the working class.

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