Unions vs. Walmart

Here is an interesting piece from Fortune about the people trying to unionize WalMart.

By midnight that lot will be f-u-l-l," he huffs in his Texas twang. He flicks the cigarette permanently nestled between his thick fingers and points out the window at the rows upon rows of cars. It doesn't seem as though the overflowing parking lot can be any fuller than it already is. The 16 Wal-Marts in Vegas are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That means Miller, 49, a self-described short, fat man with a wild salt-and-pepper beard, diamond studs in both ears, and an I-don't-take-any-crap attitude, never gets a break from one of the toughest jobs around. He is a full-time union organizer, and his mission is to convince Wal-Mart employees that they should join the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers). So he is always searching for workers—in parking lots and beyond—who might want to talk. Tonight he sees no likely prospects. Maybe tomorrow he'll have better luck.

Wal-Mart is the nation's largest employer, and not a single one of its 1.3 million workers ("associates" in Wal-Martese) is a union member. Changing that statistic, some union leaders argue, is the labor movement's most important challenge right now. "If we want to survive," says Stewart Acuff, organizing director of the AFL-CIO, "labor has no choice but to organize Wal-Mart." Though individual unions usually do not band together across turf lines for organizing drives, discussions are now underway across the labor community about what they call "the Wal-Mart problem."

I am amazed WalMart has fought off unionization for so long. It is just a matter of time…

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