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1999-12-24
Chicago, IL. Wal-Mart Gives Girl Scouts A Heave Ho

It seems so heartless right before Christmas, but Wal-Mart managers across the nation gave groups like the Salvation Army and the Girl Scouts a sudden "heave ho-ho-ho" right out of their store, because the world's largest retailer uncovered an insidious plot on the part of American organized workers to infiltrate the ranks of the Walmartians. It's not that Wal-Mart doesn't like the Boy Scouts, or the local Police and Fire Departments -- but the company says it just can't allow such groups to solicit for funds INSIDE the store any more, because the United Food and Commercial Workers (i.e. a union) want to be inside the store too. Those pesky unions are at it again. Wal-Mart says it obtained an "internal memo" from the United Food & Commercial Workers, in which the union instructs its members to document with photos and sample handouts the fact that Wal-Mart regularly allows many organizations to "solict inside and in front of its stores", but bars the union from doing so. According to the "internal memo", the UFCW planned to use such evidence to ask the courts for an injunction seeking access for all UFCW locals to the interior of Wal-Mart stores. According to a report in this week's Chicago Tribune, the move by Wal-Mart "is a blow to many nonprofit groups, which depend for donations on millions of people passing through Wal-Mart's doors at Christmas time." The story suggests that these groups still have the option to standing outside the stores, but because of Wal-Mart's fear of union organizing efforts, all groups will be kept outside the walls of Wal-Mart. Some very alert detective work by Wal-Mart uncovered the union conspiracy. (Wal-Mart admits that memo was handed to them by a union member).

What you can do: One has to wonder why Wal-Mart is so afraid of those nasty union workers getting near their Walmartians? If Wal-Mart is such a wonderful place to work for, and its "associates" totally loyal to management, then why the extreme measures to keep as much distance between the two parties as possible -- even to the extent of telling the Salvation Army and Girl Scouts to step outside? Is Wal-Mart concerned that the union message might resonate with its workers? Wal-Mart has always patrolled its stores to the extreme, removing media -- and shoppers -- with cameras or microphones, allowing no interviews of staff or customers in the store or even outside in the parking lot. I was recently being interviewed in a Wal-Mart parking lot by a TV crew, when several Wal-Mart employees angrily encircled us and told us not to move until the police arrived. Wal-Mart insisted that we be removed from the lot for "tresspassing" on private property, even as many customers made their way to and from the lot. This was in Ashland, VA. Wal-Mart had a county cop come over to instruct us to leave, which we said we were trying to do when Wal-Mart hindered us. Moments before we were ejected, a similar fate befell a BBC radio crew which was talking with people in the parking lot. The store security at a Wal-Mart befits a Gulag, not a retail wonderland. Now Wal-Mart is aggressively trying to keep the unions out of their stores. Those union people would be a nasty influence on the impressionable Wal-Mart associates.










 
 
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