By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
But the AFL-CIO was thinking of other business only a few months earlier when the union's leaders, including its chief, John Sweeney, marched specifically against Wal-Mart's oppression of its meat-market workers. According to a Web site run by activists at the AFL-CIO affiliate United Food and Commercial Workers, Wal-Mart "has profited by pushing its workers to the bottom of the wage scale." The union points out that hourly wages "average $2 to $3 per hour less than at unionized supermarkets." More grave for workers everywhere in the United States are these figures spouted by union activists: Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the country, "yet fewer than 40 percent of its workers are covered by the company's health plan."
The union notes that Wal-Mart's "hometown" judge in Arkansas issued a nationwide temporary restraining order against the UFCW, barring anyone associated with the union from entering Wal-Mart facilities to educate workers about their legal rights in the workplace. The union, however, successfully appealed the ordernoting that the judge holds more than $500,000 in Wal-Mart stock. The case remains in litigation.
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart's first lady, who also benefited from Wal-Mart stock, solicits support from union workers.
Which makes her words to the elderly Teamsters last week especially poignant: "You can count on me to stand up for the right to collectively bargain!"
Right on, sister!
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