Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday Mashup (8/1/08)

  • As noted in this Reuters story, it looks like that smiley-faced company that hawks cheap trinkets from our “friends” in China has been using the candidacy of Barack Obama for president as an excuse for anti-union intimidation…

    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.

    But the retailer, which has kept its U.S. stores free of unions, stressed it was not telling employees how to vote.
    Oh yeah? Well, according to this account from the Murdoch Street Journal…

    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.

    "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.
    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).

    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.

  • And just when you thought the anti-Obama bile could not get any stupider, along comes Jack Cafferty of CNN (echoing still more Murdoch Street Journal nonsense) stating his concerns here that Obama may be “too thin.”

    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.”


  • Finally, please allow me to sneak in a plug for the new Keystone Progress site here (more progressive, grass-roots organizing for PA – always a good thing).

    Anonymous said...

    It seems to me Wal Mart might be shooting itself in the foot with the anti union warning re Obama. Wouldn't those hourly employees want a union with the promise of higher pay and benefits or at least representation for unfair treatment Wal Mart imposes?
    And let me include this re wages.
    My grandson who works in a bookstore had a customer tell him that the bottom 50% of taxpayers only pay 3% of the income tax. Well, duh!..they only have 12% of the AGI. The top 50% has 87% of the AGI. The IRS can't tax what the bottom 50% does not have: INCOME.
    Obviously Mr. Book Buyer is a ditto head. Those who chant this mantra should stop complaining about the bottom 50% because they wouldn't want to be walking in their shoes.

    doomsy said...

    Not that I like it either, but yeah, isn't it something that there are people out there who think the VERY WORST thing in the world is to pay taxes. I guess your grandson is one of the Murdoch Street Journal's "lucky duckies" (tongue in cheek, I assure you).

    Thanks for checking in.