Week 7: Textbook Case Study

Topics: Trade union, Collective bargaining, National Labor Relations Act Pages: 5 (1171 words) Published: May 27, 2014
12/11/2011
Week 7: Textbook Case Study

"Save Money. Live Better" – Walmart and Unions Interpret the Slogan Differently

1. I honestly feel that there is way more disadvantages than advantages with Wal-Mart working with a union. Union women and men are more likely than nonunion workers to have health and pension benefits, and to receive paid holidays and vacations, and life and disability insurance. In the Wal-Mart case, I find this hard to believe. I think that Wal-Mart, being the large company that they are, is capable of much more than what a union could provide. Wal-Mart provides all that a union would help provide a company with, but they would take most of the money. Wal-Mart provides paid holidays, medical and dental insurance, life insurance, etc. They provide this without the “promises” of someone else while handing them over thousands to millions of dollars. Wal-Mart workers in the United States haven't met with much success as they try to organize unions. Wal-Mart, like many employers, resent having a union as a third party representing workers to negotiate for working conditions, benefits, and compensation. A handful of meat cutters in the Jacksonville, Texas, store voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in 2000, but their affiliation was short lived. Within weeks, Wal-Mart closed the meat cutting operations in 180 stores in six states, including Texas, switching to prepackaged meat. Wal-Mart denied that the union membership had anything to do with the move. People might be surprised to learn that historically anti-union retailer Wal-Mart does have stores with active unions. They are not in the U.S., though; they are in China and Canada. That I believe is because our Country has more options where as those other countries that have the Wal-Mart plus unions, need help finding alternative options for insurance benefits. 2. A union does collective bargaining which can often result in higher wages, better benefits, and better treatment and make it difficult to be fired for frivolous reasons. The system can work against you during layoffs which can be based off of seniority rather than performance. You may be required to pay union dues and take time off during strikes, even if you cannot financially afford it. Unions protect jobs, often needlessly in this day and age, by forming a collective bargaining power over companies. I believe that in the past, not recently, unions have been a good thing. Now, I feel as though they are more of a hassle for most. In my experience with knowing people that have worked at both union and nonunion plants, most agree that unions are best in the construction trades where the work is highly technical and a good training program is a must. Most agree that unions in manufacturing are the reason that most of the major companies have moved from the union stronghold states to weaker union states. 3. There are many consequences of Wal-Mart's efforts to slow or stop union representation in the United States (Greenhouse, 2007, p. 1). These include but are not limited to: antitrust violations and allegations thereof; lesser wages and profit margins for many producers lacking the profit margins Wal-Mart realizes; less people realizing their financial worth as an employee with education, skill, and/or experience; more stress for workers; and the potential for more stress-related and chronic illness as a result. It also attracts class action lawsuits, more negative community actions, calls for boycotts, and incurs additional legal expenditures. Moreover, Wal-Mart becomes a central piece of news and reports targeting its often “alleged” human rights violations, its unfair and inequitable labor practices around the world and in the U.S., especially (Greenhouse, 2007, p. 1; Cummings, 2007). Since the U.S. is perceived as the land of freedom and equality, Wal-Mart’s efforts to delimit unions, by many means, including spying, firing employees who want unions and the...

References: Greenhouse, S. (2007 May 1). Report Assails Wal-Mart Over Unions.
The New York Times
Lichtenstein, N. (2009 June 14). Why Wal-Mart workers need the
Employee-Free-Choice Act
SB123992564986427357.html
Miller, G., Congressman (2004)
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