Union busting is disgusting. This is a common chant one will hear at most any union rally or demonstration and quite soon, you’ll likely hear a bit more of it outside of your area Walmart. Recently leaked internal company documents are exposing that the massive retailer, famous for their “roll back” prices, has been actively engaging in some of the most common union busting techniques in play throughout corporate America.
In a series of leaked Powerpoint presentation, published by OccupyWallSt.org, Walmart’s anti-union and anti-worker strategies are illustrated at two levels, with the first listing out a string of fear mongering, anti-union talking points which were to be communicated to workers, stating that organizers are predatory and money hungry, that dues payments will be high and that workers will lose their voice in the workplace, if they were to organize.
In addition to this, another presentation depicts the corporate line as delivered to management, advising them to monitor union activity and report such to corporate, while suggesting for liability purposes, to remain with the lines of labor relations law.
In addition to these, the presentations also provided talking points about the OUR Walmart movement, which in lieu of a recognized collective bargaining unit, has formed to promote workplace fairness, decent benefits and a livable wage for the roughly 1.4 million Walmart employees.
Check out both the presentations right here:
OUR Walmart Training:
The corporate chain and organizational movement both came into the spotlight throughout 2013 as it was discovered that as a result of the low wages paid to hourly workers, that it was estimated that a single Walmart “Supercenter,” with roughly 300 employees costs tax payers over $900,000 a year in terms of welfare programs to supplement the unsustainable pay.
Though pressure has been mounting, creating some pain in both Walmart’s business and public relations, they are nevertheless, doubling down on their efforts to avoid treating their workers any better, even going over the line in some cases. Just yesterday it was announced that the Dept. of Labor is seeking to bring charges of unfair labor practices against the retail giant, in fourteen separate states following last year’s black friday protests.
In addition to the less than surprising anti-worker sentiments, further examination of the talking points and presentations released by Anonymous and published by OccupyWallSt.org, also show that deception even between management levels is a common. In the .pdf file labeled “Walmart on OUR Walmart,” upper management, in their efforts to communicate with subordinates, are not only taught to mislead their employees, but are taught to do so through lies and embellishments on their own.
Claiming firstly that OUR Walmart is a subsidiary of the UFCW, which intends on taking over Walmart’s workers and representing them as their union, Walmart corporate delivers the first outright lie, as neither OUR Walmart and UFCW have expressed any interest or intent on representing the workers, many of whom continue to organize independently. Going on from there, in a bout of near epic irony, Walmart has also adopted the line that OUR Walmart seeks to take employee voices in the workplace away from them, stating they keep an “Open Door policy” at all times, for all concerns workers may seek to express.
In this however, company training for many store level managers is now including suggestions to monitor and report to corporate, discussions of employees expressing distress or unrest with wages, hours, benefits or working conditions. Beyond this, failing either willfully or negligently, to acknowledge that OUR Walmart is not a union, but a voluntary organization of Walmart associates who seek to raise their voices on issues, it would seem that if some portion of the company’s topical rhetoric about the importance of employee input is to be taken seriously, it would almost behoove Walmart to encourage the OUR Walmart movement.
Though the millionaire right wing pundits, conservative financial columnists and the Walton family themselves all maintain that any increases to employee pay would be disastrous to their business model, profit margins and consumer satisfaction, all available hard data on the subject largely disagrees.
Recent studies showed that were Walmart associates to be paid $12 an hour as opposed to the present minimum wage, the average cost to the consumer would amount to $0.46 per trip and a whopping $12 per year. These savings would of course then be augmented by public savings as welfare roles would reduce, allowing the much beloved “roll back” consumers have come to love to be shared by all.
And though perhaps these complicated matters of math and economics may not satisfy some, the practical example of Costco, which has put itself out as one of the most worker-centric employers in the country, stands unassailable in the fight to balance company profits with worker security. At an average rate of $21.96 per hour, with full health and dental benefits for every employee, Costco routinely reports high earnings, without the messy scandals of full-time workers on welfare, high turnover or protests at their doors.
Whether Walmart will ever cave into the demands of reason and respect and adopt the sensible, productive and generally beneficial pro-worker sentiments such as Costco has, has yet to be seen. As the fallout from their recent citation for labor law violations will begin to settle out, these new leaked documents, which paint a very vivid picture of Walmart’s disposition on labor, may be but the latest bump in Walmart’s long road to finally yielding to common sense labor practices.