Union Mounting Broad New Push to Organize Wal-Mart Workers
As workers around the world participate in May Day celebrations of the labor movement’s past achievements, Paul Demko of TWI’s sister site, The Minnesota Independent, reports on a new campaign to simultaneously build nationwide support for the Employee Free Choice Act and organize workers at Wal-Mart — the white whale haunting the dreams of labor leaders across the country.
“Workers at Wal-Mart have wanted to organize for a long, long time and have made efforts in various places,” says Doug Mork, organizing director for [United Food and Commercial Workers] Local 789. “But there just hasn’t been a real possibility. If their employers have been committed enough and capitalized enough to fight them to the mat on it, workers simply haven’t had the opportunity to organize under existing labor law.”
But the UFCW now vows that its capitulation to Wal-Mart is over. The union has started organizing campaigns in 17 states, including Minnesota, targeting more than 100 stores. The impetus for the organizing drive: the new administration in the White House and the possibility of passing the Employee Free Choice Act. Under the proposed legislation, workers would join a union after more than half of the workers sign a card indicating support. Under present law, an election must be held to determine whether a majority of workers are in favor of joining the union.
But with EFCA facing an uncertain future in the Congress, as well as Wal-Mart’s staunch opposition to previous unionization efforts, organizers face an uphill battle.
You can read Paul’s story here.