A Guest Post by Campaign Director Alec Johnson
Wal-Mart Targets the Democratic Party & Unions.
Those who fear that “partisanship” might intrude into local politics should be deeply concerned about this development: The largest corporation in the world. The largest retailer, the largest grocery story, the largest automotive store, etc. and so on, in these United States: Wal-Mart, aka China’s 6th largest trading partner, has determined that not only unions but the Democratic Party are bad for their business.
I’m not sure how this story got overlooked when it appeared in the Wall Street Journal, August 1st. “Wal-Mart Warns of Democratic Win,” it begins:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they’ll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies — including Wal-Mart.
In recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized.
The Wal-Mart human-resources managers who run the meetings don’t specifically tell attendees how to vote in November’s election, but make it clear that voting for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in, according to Wal-Mart employees who attended gatherings in Maryland, Missouri and other states.
“The meeting leader said, ‘I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill will pass and you won’t have a vote on whether you want a union,'” said a Wal-Mart customer-service supervisor from Missouri. “I am not a stupid person. They were telling me how to vote,” she said.
It turns out that what has Wal-Mart going for the jugular is their fear that the next congress, along with President Barack Obama will pass the Employee Free Choice Act. This law supports what is often known as the “check card” method for establishing that workers want to exercise their right to have union representation. The “secret ballot” approach is vastly preferred by corporations, particularly those like Wal-Mart that are masters at intimidating workers throughout that far longer process.
It does seem ironic, however, that Wal-Mart would, of course, think nothing if any of their customers were to sign a card joining the Republican Party. It’s grossly unfair that workers should be held to a higher standard when they’re exercising their lawful right to organize.
What, you might ask, has any of this to do with us in Eureka? It turns out that the Chamber of Commerce is helping Wal-Mart in its crusade to preserve us from the perils of safe workplaces, good jobs and decent wages. Read on:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has made defeat of the legislation a top priority. In the past six months, it has flown state and local Chamber members to Washington to lobby members of Congress. On Thursday, the Chamber began airing a television ad in Minnesota and plans to run ads in other states as part of a broader campaign.
Locally the Chamber of Commerce receives a government handout from Eureka’s Taxpayers of over $100,000 this year alone! How can an organization so extremely at odds with the majority of Eurekans receive such a generous subsidy?
There are 2750 licensed businesses operating in Eureka. That’s public information. Amazingly it appears to be something of a secret exactly how many of them are members of the Chamber. Clark campaign staff has asked the Chamber for this information several times after fruitless attempts to get the data from their curiously inscrutable website. They claim 650 members, many of which are not businesses, but if they all were, that would still be less than 25% of Eureka’s businesses.
This privileged minority enjoys a quasi-public status, and with their Tax dollars in hand thumb their noses at Eureka’s citizens by supporting Calpine and the Big Box on the Waterfront. While we can’t stop them, it appears, from assaulting our Democracy, I’d rather they not do it while still receiving public funds. A good start would be to come clean about how many businesses in Eureka are actually members of this organization.