Teamsters Take Shot at Wal-Mart

Discussion
Mar 23, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson


The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) are not the only union looking to organize Wal-Mart employees.


The Warehouse Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters has launched a Web site (www.walmartworkersunited.org) directed at employees of the retailer’s distribution center operations.


In a released statement, the director of Teamsters’ Warehouse Division, John A. Williams, said, “The Teamsters Union respects that the Wal-Mart distribution center employees do a great job in getting the product to the stores.”


“Our Union negotiates industry-leading contracts providing our members with family wages and benefits. Wal-Mart employees, working for the largest company in the U.S., should not earn less in wages and benefits then what Teamster members enjoy working under their union contracts,” he added.


“The Wal-Mart model for its distribution center employees should not be built on what can’t be done but what must be done to make these Wal-Mart employees some of the best compensated workers in the industry,” he said.


Moderator’s Comment: Are the Teamsters likely to have any more success organizing Wal-Mart distribution centers (DCs) than the United Food and Commercial
Workers have had in the retailer’s stores? What would a union-represented workforce in Wal-Mart’s DCs mean for the company?

George Anderson – Moderator

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4 Comments on "Teamsters Take Shot at Wal-Mart"


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Amy Auer
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Amy Auer
15 years 11 months ago
Wal-Mart has succeeded where no one else has – logistics! Their distribution centers are state of the art and a role model for the industry. The drivers are the best in the country (which also controls cost). Union officials make their money from the union dues paid by employees who do the work. Wal-Mart is an apple, ripe for the picking – but the difference is that they know it. Wal-Mart didn’t get where it is today by waiting for someone else to decide who could work what job, when they could work, or how they could do it. They became the role model because they work smarter, cleaner, and leaner than their competition. Wal-Mart officials are aware that there is a lot of money to be made off the backs of their workers. The buzzards are circling, waiting for an opening. A Wal-Mart employee waiting to go union should take a good look at the grocery industry. Take a good look at the wage vs. the hours worked in a union grocery store. The… Read more »
David Livingston
Guest
15 years 11 months ago

Having a union in Wal-Mart would be like having water in a gas tank. Won’t work. The best way to keep the union out is to make sure the employees are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the union is a threat to their jobs. Wal-Mart needs to start employing stronger psychological methods because employees are seeing through the current ones. Wal-Mart might even have to show some muscle, such as closing down a distribution center or replacing the workers with outside contractors. I think it would be unlikely the unions would have any success. Unions are getting weaker as each day passes. This is good news for Wal-Mart and their stockholders. The chance of unionizing Wal-Mart gets smaller every day.

Edward Cuttle
Guest
Edward Cuttle
15 years 11 months ago

While I doubt the teamsters will be successful, they do pose a menacing threat to a very successful company and, if successful, will quickly change that scenario as they have in so many once successful companies/industries.

Their theme of less work for more money has never changed and continues to be a disaster for many employers and their employees. Decreasing productivity is the end result and the employees who believe the Union is helping them never learn that winning the battles (contract negotiations) ultimately leads to losing the war and their jobs.
That said, Wal-Mart invites this and other organizing efforts by paying a non family wage to the vast majority of workers and, therefore, attracts many unskilled and un-productive workers.

While this has worked to date, it will eventually catch up with them.

Edward Cuttle
Guest
Edward Cuttle
15 years 8 months ago

Makes no difference. If either is successful, Wal-Mart in quick order will shrink and thousands of its misguided employees will be un-employed. Those who remain will see a complete restructuring of their benefit package which will offset any increase in real wages.
As is usually the case, when organizers are successful and win the organization battle, the employees soon end up losing the war.

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