Sunday, February 13, 2005

Joe Hill's Not Here 

The "sacrifice" of that Canadian store did its job all right.

(via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
After a nearly five-year battle just to get a vote, the United Food and Commercial Workers union lost an election to represent 17 employees of the Tire and Lube Express unit of Wal-Mart's store in New Castle, Lawrence County.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer said it was pleased with the outcome and described the workers' rejection of the union as evidence that they didn't "feel that a third party would add anything to Wal-Mart's culture or environment."

The UFCW, however, blamed the outcome on Wal-Mart's decision two days earlier to close a newly unionized Canadian store after failing to reach a contract and on turnover at the New Castle outlet. The planned shutdown of the store in Jonquiere, Quebec -- the first unionized Wal-Mart in North America -- is expected to mean the loss of 190 jobs, according to Bloomberg News.

An election in New Castle originally scheduled in 2000 was canceled after the UFCW's Cleveland-based Local 880 complained to the National Labor Relations Board.

The union said the company had improved conditions for the workers, interrogated them about their union sympathies and moved workers in and out of the tire and lube department to dilute support. That complaint was settled last year in an unpublished ruling.

Last month, when the NLRB scheduled the second election, it was the only representation election pending at any of the 3,064 Wal-Mart stores nationwide.

Since then, another has been scheduled for Feb. 25 at the tire and lube department of a Wal-Mart in Loveland, Colo., a Wal-Mart spokeswoman said.
Is anybody here still buying anything at Mal-Wart that they can conceivably do without, or get elsewhere? I sure hope not, because somewhere, Joe Hill is watching...

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