NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Friday it has warned U.S. store managers in recent weeks about the possible consequences of a labor-friendly bill backed by Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama that would make it easier for workers to form unions.Oh yeah? Well, according to this account from the Murdoch Street Journal…
But the retailer, which has kept its U.S. stores free of unions, stressed it was not telling employees how to vote.
The Wal-Mart human-resources managers who run the (mandatory) meetings (warning workers of what supposedly will happen if Wal-Mart stores are unionized) 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.And as noted here, Obama has stood up for workers’ rights to unionize, particularly those at Wal-Mart. Also, though Jason Furman, a recently added member of the Obama economic team, has been sympathetic to Wal-Mart in the past, I believe he is a net-plus for the Obama campaign (as Andrew Leonard of Salon explains here).
"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.
Wal-Mart may be walking a fine legal line by holding meetings with its store department heads that link politics with a strong antiunion message. Federal election rules permit companies to advocate for specific political candidates to its executives, stockholders and salaried managers, but not to hourly employees. While store managers are on salary, department supervisors are hourly workers.
However, employers have fairly broad leeway to disseminate information about candidates' voting records and positions on issues, according to Jan Baran, a Washington attorney and expert on election law.
All of this is good reason to support Obama as far as I’m concerned, and to do so, click here.
Update: ThinkProgress has more here.
Gee, it seemed like we were treated to stories of how “fit” Incurious George was forever, participating in recreational activities for the cameras every chance he got (as Obama does with basketball and jogging, among other stuff). However, Dubya also fell off a Segway, cracked up his bicycle, and choked on a pretzel. In spite of that, I never heard anyone wonder whether or not he was “too clumsy.”