Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An Alternative Organizing Drive At Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart Given traditional unions' inability to organize Wal-Mart stores (not to mention the recent failure at Target), it's perhaps no surprise that worker advocates are seeking a new avenue to press for change.  As described by Steven Greenhouse, Organization United for Respect at Walmart ("OUR Walmart") is signing up workers to push for better working conditions at Wal-Mart.  The group claims to have thousands of members thus far and will soon have a web site and Facebook page.

Although OUR Walmart will not attempt to bargain on behalf of wokers, it's not a competitor to traditional unionism, however, as UFCW have provided a lot of financial support for the group and gotten members to drum up support among Wal-Mart workers.  Low wages has been the key issue, in addition to benefits and respect at work.

We've seen similar efforts at other companies in the past (including labor-backed groups that have gone after Wal-Mart), and I think we'll continue to see more such efforts given the difficulties in formally organizing workforces.  As I've argued in the past, that's not necessarily a bad thing, as the traditional collective bargaining isn't always the best fit for modern workplaces.

Hat TIp:  Matthew Dimick



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