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2004-11-23
Beijing, China. Chinese Force Wal-Mart to Agree to Unions

Wal-Mart proved today that if it wants a market bad enough, it is willing to do extraordinary things to get it. Under mounting pressure from Chinese labor activists associated with the Communist party, Wal-Mart announced this week that it would allow the union into its Chinese stores if employees requested it -- something the company would have a coronary about in the United States. "Should associates request formation of a union, Wal-Mart China would respect their wishes and honor its obligation under China's Trade Union Law," Wal-Mart said. "Currently, there are no unions in Wal-Mart China because associates have not requested that one be formed," Wal-Mart said. But the "associates" clearly are going to ask. The All China Federation of Trade Unions, which, according to the Associated Press has an enormous 123 million members, had threatened to sue Wal-Mart if they don't set up union branches in their China operations. 123 million people is more than the number of U.S. shoppers who go to Wal-Mart every month. The Federation is the only group in China that is allowed to organize workers. Wal-Mart already has 39 stores in China employing 20,000 people. "Wal-Mart is currently in full compliance with China's Trade Union Law, which states that establishing a union is a voluntary action of the associates," the Wal-Mart statement said. The giant retailer imported $15 billion worth of products in China last year, and is affectionately known here at Sprawl-Busters as "China Mart" because of its addiction to Chinese take-out.

What you can do: So the company that fought tooth and nail in the United States and Canada to prevent unionization at all costs, has now given in to the pressure of the yen in China. For earlier stories about China unions, and the subject generally, search Newflash by the word "union." Sam Walton is churning in his grave over this decision. The world's biggest capitalist retailer has been humbled by a Communist union that stands in the door of the largest profit center Wal-Mart has ever seen. Of course they'll agree to unions, because profits are more important than unions.










 
 
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