Labor Relations and Wal-Mart

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Labor relations are a part of our daily lives, whether we realize it or not. For those of us who work, it relates to our wages, the hours that we work and the way we are treated as an employee of an organization, no matter how large or small.

Families across the nation are familiar with the big white building with the blue and white Wal-Mart sign across it. At least one of us has visited the store and shopped, whether for ourselves, friends or family members. We like the store because of its convenience to our homes, the variety of products and, most of all, the savings we obtain whenever we make a purchase. Besides the "everyday low prices" of this retail giant, what exactly do we know about this massive organization?

Although to some of us it may seem Wal-Mart is only a few years old, it is actually over forty years old. It was founded in 1962 by Oklahoma native, Sam Walton. He was known to be a very cheap man; he was always on a hunt for low prices, it was a natural lifestyle for him. He still visited his regular barber and spent no more than $5 for his haircuts, although he was ranked as America's richest man during the 1980's. He always found a way to save money, therefore saving his customers money and still make a profit through volume. His charisma and leadership skills helped him to keep his staff or "associates", as he called them, happy. Also, the fact that he lived his life modestly showed that he was on a crusade for the lowly consumer, as he was always looking for better deals from suppliers.

In the mid 1980's anxiety arose about trade deficits; however Walton launched a "Made in America" campaign that committed Wal-Mart to buying American-made products if suppliers could be within a 5% range of the foreign supplier's price. Also, he assured his "associates" of a stake in the company by introducing a profit sharing plan which allowed his employees to set aside a certain amount from their pay and use it towards the purchase of subsidized...
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