How Walmart Persuades Its Workers Not to Unionize

June 11, 2015

By Steven Greenhouse

America’s largest private employer cares a lot about preventing its workers from organizing, a leaked training video reveals.

One former Walmart store manager tells the story that after discovering a pro-union flyer in his store’s men’s room, he informed company headquarters and within 24 hours, an anti-union SWAT team flew to his store in a corporate jet. And when the meat department of a Walmart store in Texas became the retailer’s only operation in the United States to unionize, back in 2000, Walmart announced plans two weeks later to use prepackaged meat and eliminate butchers at that store and 179 others.

With 1.3 million U.S. employees—more than the population of Vermont and Wyoming combined—Walmart is by far the nation’s largest private-sector employer.  It’s also one of the nation’s most aggressive anti-union companies, with a long history of trying to squelch unionization efforts. “People are scared to vote for a union because they’re scared their store will be closed,” said Barbara Gertz, an overnight Walmart stocker in Denver.

Walmart maintains a steady drumbeat of anti-union information at its more than 4,000 U.S. stores, requiring new hires—there are hundreds of thousands each year—to watch a video that derides organized labor. Indeed, Walmart’s anti-union campaign goes back decades: There was “Labor Relations and You at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center,” a 1991 guide aimed at beating back the Teamsters at its warehouses, and then in 1997 came “A Manager’s Toolbox to Remaining Union Free.” The first half of a statement in that toolbox has been repeatedly snickered at for being so egregiously false: “We are not anti-union; we are pro-associate.”

Early last year, Anonymous, a network of hacker activists, leaked two internal Walmart PowerPoint slideshows. One was a “Labor Relations Training” presentation for store managers that echoed the “Manager’s Toolbox” in suggesting that unions were money-grubbing outfits caring little about workers’ welfare. “Unions are a business, not a club or social organization—they want associates’ money,” the PowerPoint read. (Walmart confirmed the PowerPoints’ authenticity.) “Unions spend members’ dues money on things other than representing them,” it added… READ THE FULL STORY HERE!

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