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RedsBaron
06-17-2005, 07:45 AM
I've never really been a Wal-Mart basher; I've been an agnostic on that topic.
However, I was struck by an article that appeared in my local paper yesterday about a Wal-Mart in Nitro, WV.
Workers at that Wal-Mart have been ordered to be available to work any shift at any time or face dismissal. "Workers who cannot commit to being available for any shift between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., seven days a week, will be fired by the end of this week."
"It shouldn't cause any problem, if they are concerned about their customers," said store manager Johnn Knuckles.
How about workers maybe being concerned with their families, or just wanting to have some semblance of a life, instead of having to be available for work anytime between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., on a moment's notice?

Ravenlord
06-17-2005, 07:47 AM
that's standard procedure at Meijer and Kroger. it's standard procedure at Wal-Mart during the summer and/or when business is expected to be really high (expansion, Christmas, etc).

i've worked for all three for extended periods of time. Wal-Mart was my favorite, but i'd prefer not to work for any of them again.

RFS62
06-17-2005, 07:48 AM
Wal Mart is the devil.

GAC
06-17-2005, 08:59 AM
Similar situation also happens at Honda (department by department). It fluctuates depending on manufacturing needs; but the reasoning is always to "meet the growing needs of our customers". At Honda, we're a TEAM. :D

They always ask for "volunteers" first; but if that need is not met, then they tell you you're working. And they can (and have) come up to you just before shift's end and said you (or the whole line) have to stay over in order to meet today's goals... or that you are going to have to work this weekend. Of course you can tell them NO, or not show up at all; but after your attendance drops below a certain percentage you start to get into serious trouble. So you can only do that for a short time.

RedsBaron
06-17-2005, 09:11 AM
I'd guess workers at Honda at least earn something more than the minimum wage. It just bugs me that Wal-Mart apparently wants to control their employees' lives virtually 24/7.

GAC
06-17-2005, 10:35 AM
I'd guess workers at Honda at least earn something more than the minimum wage. It just bugs me that Wal-Mart apparently wants to control their employees' lives virtually 24/7.

More and more companies, especially in the manufacturing sector, are attempting to do this anymore. The competition to attract and hold on to the customer drives it too.

And don't misunderstand me - I'm not defending Wal-Mart. Just seeing the reality of what is changing/evolving within the workplace. Alot within both the retail chains and manufacturing are also doing similar practices. They are beginning to "invade" the private/personal lives of their employees because of the way employers feel it may negatively affect their employees in the workplace (attendance, quality, increased production, attitude, healthcare costs, etc). Wal-Marts gets alot of the attention though because of their size and high profile.

KronoRed
06-17-2005, 11:02 AM
Wal Mart is the devil.
That's K-Mart..the red and all ;)

919191
06-17-2005, 11:21 AM
Last summer my union narrowly voted to approve a labor contract. I prepared for 2 years to ready myself in case of a strike. Unfortunately, alot of younger people would buy new trucks right before the vote and then say they would have to vote yes becausr they couldn't miss a paycheck or two. I guess I need to let the bitterness subside. :) Anyway, one of the things the company wanted was mandatory overtime. Now this would have meant we would be forced to work an additional 12 hour shift, as we are 12 hour shifts on continuous operation. The way I see it, my time is my time, and I don't wanna be in the position of telling my kids I can't take them to the zoo or a ballgame like I promised because I had to work. Now, I know alot of people have to work over, but I have the luxery of not having too, so why would I ever agree to give that up? If I eveerr need more money, I can volunteer for overtime, or get a part time job, but my time is limited. I don't get anymore of it that I already have.

macro
06-17-2005, 11:32 AM
Well, with that policy and all, one would think that Walmart could have more than seven or eight of the 50 checkout lanes open on a weekday afternoon at 4:00pm, while those seven or eight are backed up 30 feet! When that happens at our local store (often), there's this little group of what I call "redcoats" (managers that wear red vests instead of blue) who get in this little huddle and seem to be analyzing the situation. I have no idea how Walmart works, but I'm thinking "Hey, how about firing up a register yourself, instead of huddling about it?"

While I'm bashing, why is it that certain items are out of stock for days, when I watched documentary about Walmart on TV that hailed their state-of-the-art, networked inventory system that ties every store's register to Bentonville? The running joke between my wife and me is "Which items will they be out of today?" :laugh: We never complete a shopping list at that place, be it general merchandise or groceries.

Okay, I'm done, and boy do I feel better. :D:

Chip R
06-17-2005, 11:42 AM
While I'm bashing, why is it that certain items are out of stock for days, when I watched documentary about Walmart on TV that hailed their state-of-the-art, networked inventory system that ties every store's register to Bentonville? The running joke between my wife and me is "Which items will they be out of today?" :laugh: We never complete a shopping list at that place, be it general merchandise or groceries.
Funny you mention that because when WalMart started getting popular back in the 80s whenever I was looking for something I wanted there I was able to find it. I don't think it's like that anymore but the last time I went there I did find stuff I was looking for that I couldn't find in Target. But I'd much rather shop in the Target by where I live than the WalMart even though the WalMart is a little closer.

LincolnparkRed
06-17-2005, 11:58 AM
My question would be for the employees of Walmart is what is the turnover among employees once this "on call" policy started vs. what it was before. Obviously in the case of a manufacturing job or a wal-mart job the salary should be a bit higher for the manufacturing job so that should make it a bit more bearable. Personally I have never held a job where I was on call but I would think it would be hard to keep people working there unless they were looking to make a career out of it.

macro
06-17-2005, 12:16 PM
But I'd much rather shop in the Target by where I live than the WalMart even though the WalMart is a little closer.

Oh, I had rather shop at Target, too. The stores are much quieter/peaceful and seem to be better-organized. Unfortunately, Walmart is the only place in our small town that sells so many of the things we need, so end up getting everything there to avoid making multiple stops.

One day I was bored and tried to list the transactions that can be carried out under the roof of our local Walmart. I came up with:


groceries
general merchandise
fabrics/sewing
tires/oil change
sporting goods
clothing
vision center / optometrist
beauty shop
cell phone contracts/sales
bank
photo center
bakery
deli
pharmacy
portrait studio
McDonalds
lawn and garden center / nursery

That's 17 transactions that once would have had to be carried out at seperate locations around town that can now be taken care of under that one roof. That's not to say that I do all or even most of those things at Walmart, nor would I recommend it, but that's what is possible.

Of all the things Walmart does, I think they do the auto center thing the absolute worst. It's called "Tire and Lube Express", but the term "express" is used very loosely!


ex·press http://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/AHD4/JPG/pron.jpg (https://secure.reference.com/premium/login.html?rd=2&u=http%3A%2F%2Fdictionary.reference.com%2Fsearch%3 Fq%3Dexpress) ( P ) Pronunciation Key (http://dictionary.reference.com/help/ahd4/pronkey.html) (http://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/AHD4/GIF/ibreve.gifk-sprhttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/AHD4/GIF/ebreve.gifshttp://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/AHD4/GIF/prime.gif)
n.
A rapid, efficient system for the delivery of goods and mail.
:lol:

I tried them twice, for oil changes. The first time it took them over an hour to get me done. Thinking that perhaps that was a busy time of day for them or something, I tried again in the middle of a weekday morning. Same results - over an hour. I've been going to the ten-minute place across the street ever since.

Jeremy Piergallini
06-17-2005, 12:55 PM
I worked at Krogers, and while I think they are the anit-christ, we were never told we would get fired if we weren't available 7 days a week.

Chip R
06-17-2005, 01:05 PM
Oh, I had rather shop at Target, too. The stores are much quieter/peaceful and seem to be better-organized. Unfortunately, Walmart is the only place in our small town that sells so many of the things we need, so end up getting everything there to avoid making multiple stops.
That seems to be the way of the world in these small to mid-size towns. WalMart has darn near everything they need and can charge less than other stores can. You can even get gas and groceries there now. It's obviously a solid business strategy albiet cutthroat.

RBA
06-17-2005, 01:09 PM
My work requires me to be available 24 hours a day/7 days a week and able to leave home and not return home for up to 18 months at a moments notice.

RBA
06-17-2005, 01:16 PM
I tried them twice, for oil changes. The first time it took them over an hour to get me done. Thinking that perhaps that was a busy time of day for them or something, I tried again in the middle of a weekday morning. Same results - over an hour. I've been going to the ten-minute place across the street ever since.

I think they do that on purpose to get people to spend over an hour in their store doing nothing but spend money on their Chinese's manufacutured goods/crap or eat at their inflated priced McDonalds where a baby is getting a diaper change on the table next to them.

Jeremy Piergallini
06-17-2005, 01:20 PM
Red Blooded,
Military? What branch of service?

Jeremy Piergallini
06-17-2005, 01:21 PM
Everything is made in China. Still love the line from the Russian in Armageddon:

English. Russian. French. Doesn't matter, all made in Taiwan.

Or something like that.

RBA
06-17-2005, 01:24 PM
Red Blooded,
Military? What branch of service?

Air Force

RBA
06-17-2005, 01:29 PM
Good tip. If you want to get a good parking space and get thru checkout quicker:

Park at the Tire and Lube section and enter the store that way. And you can check out there too. Of course, don't try to bring 5 bags of food thru that checkout.

Redsfaithful
06-17-2005, 01:44 PM
Nitro, WV Wal-Mart employees ought to Unionize and this kind of crap wouldn't happen.

Chip R
06-17-2005, 01:48 PM
Nitro, WV Wal-Mart employees ought to Unionize and this kind of crap wouldn't happen.If they did that the store would probably close quicker than you could blink.

Jeremy Piergallini
06-17-2005, 01:49 PM
Serving where?

I went to school with 2 of 3 brothers who are all in the Air Force.
Don't know what they are up to now.

RBA
06-17-2005, 01:49 PM
Nitro, WV Wal-Mart employees ought to Unionize and this kind of crap wouldn't happen.

Union? But that's Communism. No way in hell; that's unAmerican.

Now, I'm off to Wal-Mart to buy my brand new blender made in China. ;)

RBA
06-17-2005, 01:53 PM
Serving where?

I went to school with 2 of 3 brothers who are all in the Air Force.
Don't know what they are up to now.

I'm Security Police (Military Police for Air Force)

I have served all over.

Unassisted
06-17-2005, 02:14 PM
If they did that the store would probably close quicker than you could blink.Chip knows of what he speaks here.

http://www.cbc.ca/story/business/national/2005/04/29/walmart-050429.html

Redsfaithful
06-17-2005, 02:17 PM
If they did that the store would probably close quicker than you could blink.

Yeah, if labor wants to unionize big box retailers they're going to have to find a way to do more than one store at a time. If 50 stores across the country voted to unionize then Wal-Mart would have to figure something else out.

Not that this'll ever happen, because people have been brainwashed into hating unions by constant corporate propoganda, but it'd help.

Chip R
06-17-2005, 02:33 PM
Yeah, if labor wants to unionize big box retailers they're going to have to find a way to do more than one store at a time. If 50 stores across the country voted to unionize then Wal-Mart would have to figure something else out.

Not that this'll ever happen, because people have been brainwashed into hating unions by constant corporate propoganda, but it'd help.I don't really know if these WalMart employees even need a union. Don't get me wrong, I'm in a union myself, but a lot of these WalMart jobs are not exactly jobs that people are looking for a career with. Some 16 year old student just wants to make a few bucks so he can pay the insurance on his car. So he gets a job stocking at WalMart. He doesn't want to hassle with unions. His paycheck may not even go up much and he really doesn't care about benefits either. And if a WalMart in a town like Nitro, WV voted to go union and WalMart pulled out of there, there would be a lot of jobs lost in that town. Furthermore people would have to go to other cities to get stuff they want because Mr. Friendly's hardware store closed up because WalMart undercut him on pricing. I know WalMart doesn't treat their employees very well. This is just another example. But they probably see their employees as temporary too. Get em in there and if they start deviating from the norm, let them go or make it difficult for them to keep working there. There's always someone else who will want that job. One would hope that WalMart Corporate would eventually realize that treating their employees better would lead to more productivity but if that would cause their stock to go down a quarter of a point then they probably wouldn't do it. I don't know what would get them to change their policies but it doesn't look like competition will since they undercut everybody on price.

registerthis
06-17-2005, 02:48 PM
Chip (and others)--Have you read "Nickel and Dimed" by barbara Ehrenreich? If not, I highly suggest it, it's a great read. And it might change your opinion of the need--or lack thereof--for unions in places like Wal Mart.

As far as Wal Mart jobs not being career-type jobs...if the typical Wal Mart employee is comparable to the typical Kroger employee (I assume that they are), then that would not be an accurate statement. In the Kroger store i worked in, I would estimate that half of the store's full time employees were career kroger employees, who were relying on their wages in order to earn a living.

Wal-Mart's hypocritical attitude on on a multitude of issues is just short of infuriating--claiming that unions are un-American, but supplying most of their stores with products made outside of the U.S....claiming to be pro-environment, yet consistently building humongous stores on gigantic tracts of land...claiming to be supportive of employees rights, but shutting down stores when the workers attempt to unionize...strong-arming their suppliers into providing their goods at ridiculously low prices--frequently at or below the COGS price--which adversely affects the health of their suppliers while driving locally-owned stores out of business...etc.

No, there isn't much to like about Wal-Mart.

Redsfaithful
06-17-2005, 02:51 PM
Yeah I've read Nickel and Dimed. It's a great book.

Big Donkey
06-17-2005, 03:56 PM
Anyone ever see the Wal-Mart episode of South Park? Interesting commentary of people who "need" the store in small towns.

Big Donkey
06-17-2005, 04:02 PM
Well, with that policy and all, one would think that Walmart could have more than seven or eight of the 50 checkout lanes open on a weekday afternoon at 4:00pm, while those seven or eight are backed up 30 feet! When that happens at our local store (often), there's this little group of what I call "redcoats" (managers that wear red vests instead of blue) who get in this little huddle and seem to be analyzing the situation. I have no idea how Walmart works, but I'm thinking "Hey, how about firing up a register yourself, instead of huddling about it?"

Yes, I've noticed this myself. Actually, my girlfriend has been working at Wal-Mart for a little while in between "career" medical jobs. She works at customer service. She says, on a given day, they can have like four or five people scheduled at the customer service desk for a period of time (say, 4pm-11pm), while there are about the same amount of cashiers for the thirty lanes over the same time period. Seems like overkill at the service desk, huh? She VOLUNTEERS to go out to the registers to help take the strain off customers and other cashiers, not to mention making the service area a little less cramped, but they are pretty adament about her not leaving the desk. What's up with that? Now this could just be exclusive to this particular Wal-Mart, but still, odd stuff.

RedsBaron
06-17-2005, 04:12 PM
I was discussing this matter during a break in a deposition earlier this afternoon. Another lawyer said there was a news report that an official from Wal-Mart had now stated that the actions of the Nitro manager were not authorized and did not represent Wal-Mart corporate policy. We'll see. :rolleyes:

Danny Serafini
06-17-2005, 04:14 PM
I worked at Krogers, and while I think they are the anit-christ, we were never told we would get fired if we weren't available 7 days a week.

I used to work for Kroger, and have a number of friends who still do. We were never told we had to be available 24/7 either, in fact they were very cooperative with my scheduling. None of the NW Ohio stores will fire anyone for not being available 7 days a week.

savafan
06-17-2005, 04:18 PM
My current job in direct care to the mentally handicapped is now requiring me to be available 24/7/365, which is why I am looking for a new job. It is keeping me away from my family and friends, and wasn't a policy when I started. I got called away from work at my parents' house on Christmas for crying out loud.

M2
06-17-2005, 04:26 PM
Read a great article on the SEIU in the New York Times Magazine a while back. Interesting union. It's trying to sell employers on the crazy notion that you'll get more productivity out of your workforce if you treat it well.

I'm at a company with an open work policy. I set my hours, determine whether I work from the office or home, get as much vacation/sick time as I need. Got to take off early for my son's birthday yesterday for instance.

WVRed
06-17-2005, 04:33 PM
Its reasons like this why unions are a good thing.

Unassisted
06-17-2005, 04:37 PM
Its reasons like this why unions are a good thing.Unions are a double-edged sword. I didn't enjoy having a union around so much when I was a manager trying to get quality work out of a grossly unqualified employee who had bumped a really well-qualified employee out of a position I supervised.

Chip R
06-17-2005, 04:40 PM
Read a great article on the SEIU in the New York Times Magazine a while back. Interesting union. It's trying to sell employers on the crazy notion that you'll get more productivity out of your workforce if you treat it well.
:wave:

WVRed
06-17-2005, 04:46 PM
I should mention I currently work at a small grocery store here in town. I cant imagine the manager there TELLING people that they have to be on call to work or they would be fired.

All he has had to do is ask me to work, and if I had plans(which most of the time I didnt), I would let him know and he would ask somebody else.

Wal-Mart moved into this area sometime ago and the manager from there looked the previous manager of where I work in the eye and said "We will close this store down". It has hurt us, but we are still in business.

registerthis
06-17-2005, 04:50 PM
Its reasons like this why unions are a good thing.
Unions CAN be a good thing.

However, unions can also be corrupt, bloated, and useless. At their core, I respect their mission: solidarity among the workers to lobby for better wages and working conditions. However, I worked under the UVCW local 1059 for seven years at kroger, and I can say firsthand that the union was responsible for keeping more useless employees in more jobs than I care to count. Many times the leadership of larger unions are corrupt, and the benefits they offer the workers on the lowest rung of the ladder is often menial. They also do an amazingly thorough job of keeping surly, lazy and just plain bad employees around, because management is afraid to fire them for fear of a greivance being filed.

I realize that stance is fairly right wing, and I tend to veer to the left on most social issues. And I don't mean to say that all unions are corrupt, useless, bloated etc. But enough of them are to warrant a serious examination as to how many of them are *truly* protecting workers.

Danny Serafini
06-17-2005, 04:56 PM
However, I worked under the UVCW local 1059 for seven years at kroger, and I can say firsthand that the union was responsible for keeping more useless employees in more jobs than I care to count. Many times the leadership of larger unions are corrupt, and the benefits they offer the workers on the lowest rung of the ladder is often menial. They also do an amazingly thorough job of keeping surly, lazy and just plain bad employees around, because management is afraid to fire them for fear of a greivance being filed.

That is so dead on it's not even funny. I really got tired of having to constantly clean up messes created by clueless morons who couldn't get fired if they walked up to a customer and punched him in the face. And on the rare occasion they did fire someone they usually got their job back within a week. The whole thing was a total joke.

GAC
06-17-2005, 05:43 PM
Its reasons like this why unions are a good thing.

Not that I am against unions one bit (raised in a union household), but they are not the "all-in'all" that comes in and solves employee issues. I can sight numerous issues where unions made alot of promises to get in, and have yet to come through.

The UAW has tried very unsuccessfully to unionize Honda since it's inception. They have failed miserably. My brother-in-law was a huge union supporter, and use to give me heck for not supporting Honda's unionization. His reasoning? If it wasn't for unions, you wouldn't have what you have? True. So I'm suppose to vote a union in out of some sort of thanks and appreciation, and not because of the obvious reasons? - weak pay, benefits, job conditions, etc.

He voted the UAW in about 8 years ago where he works. They promised more then your average politician.... and came through just like most of them too. The workers there are still waiting. :lol:

My brother-in-law is not so strong union anymore.

I have several relatives (Dayton area) (some now retired) who work for GM. They have nothing good to say for either management or the union. The average worker is usually stuck in the middle, getting squeezed from both directions, and ends up getting the short end of the stick when it comes down to it.

Look what is happening at GM right now. Anyone want to bet that the union, when it comes to it's own viability/life, will fold like Mike Tyson in the 6th round when it comes to standing up for those benefit cuts/job losses?

Saw it happen in Springfield, Ohio, the seat of International Trucks (Navistar) - ask those workers about job security and benefit losses. Where is their union (UAW Local 402)?

And do we need to even be talking about the Teamsters? Know quite a few truckers, including my brother, who haven't got too nice of things to say about this organization, and their tactics. Their own corruption has forced other unions to step in and prop it up financially.

And union weekly strike pay, while their heirachy in D.C. draws "six figures", is simply phenomenal. :rolleyes:

Now some would now conclude that GAC is anti-union. Again, no I'm not. Just pointing out examples where the union is living off their history, and is not standing up for/representing the worker like they should. Unions have evolved and changed into a D.C. lobbying group and has lost sight of the true vision of the American worker.

Union membership is the lowest it has ever been since the early 1940's. UAW membership is now under 600,000. It's pathetic.

And agreements such as NAFTA, which was all about free trade, and was supported by unions, has been such a huge assist in American job losses, waqe stagnation, and the decline of unions.

If those workers at Wal-Mart want a union, then it's gonna take a greater unionization effort then at one measily isolated store here and there. It's gonna take a greater effort amongst their stores employees nationwide. And as someone mentioned earlier, knowing the type of people who take those jobs at Wal-Mart (and in the retail industry), I don't see it happening.

M2
06-17-2005, 06:26 PM
:wave:

How many purple shirts do you own?

Chip R
06-17-2005, 06:51 PM
How many purple shirts do you own?Several but they aren't SEIU shirts. My alma mater's colors are purple and gold. I think I have an SEIU shirt and many buttons. Boy, do I have buttons. :lol:

Falls City Beer
06-17-2005, 07:29 PM
Unions CAN be a good thing.

However, unions can also be corrupt, bloated, and useless. At their core, I respect their mission: solidarity among the workers to lobby for better wages and working conditions. However, I worked under the UVCW local 1059 for seven years at kroger, and I can say firsthand that the union was responsible for keeping more useless employees in more jobs than I care to count. Many times the leadership of larger unions are corrupt, and the benefits they offer the workers on the lowest rung of the ladder is often menial. They also do an amazingly thorough job of keeping surly, lazy and just plain bad employees around, because management is afraid to fire them for fear of a greivance being filed.

I realize that stance is fairly right wing, and I tend to veer to the left on most social issues. And I don't mean to say that all unions are corrupt, useless, bloated etc. But enough of them are to warrant a serious examination as to how many of them are *truly* protecting workers.

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with unions; there never has been, there never will be.

Just as there is nothing fundamentally wrong with democracy. Both unions and democracies breed and foment scandal, corruption, strongarming but they are almost always vehicles for more good than bad. I know something is a "good" when I consider a world in its absence and my veins freeze.

westofyou
06-17-2005, 07:32 PM
I know something is a "good" when I consider a world in its absence.

Like Lancelot Link Secret Chimp... can't imagine the world without it.

Falls City Beer
06-17-2005, 07:35 PM
Like Lancelot Link Secret Chimp... can't imagine the world without it.

When I consider what I'd look like mixed with Lancelot Link's genetic material.

http://www.ape-o-naut.org/famous/famous/members/images/cha-ka.gif

Rojo
06-17-2005, 08:04 PM
Bottom line time: Does anyone think things would be worse for Walmart employees if they had a union?

pedro
06-17-2005, 08:10 PM
Like Lancelot Link Secret Chimp... can't imagine the world without it.

http://home.att.net/~too-much-tv/lancelink.jpg

reds_fan29
06-17-2005, 08:31 PM
I am a member of SEIU and even though i understand and see what most people are saying about it protecting the lazy, but at the same time I see what the management try to do now and what they would do if we did not have a contract backing us and I am very happy to pay my union dues. I worked at a gas station prior to getting this job, I consistently worked evenings even though a lady in her mid 40s hired in after me, constantly worked dayshifts. When I question this I was told she gets better shifts b/c this is her "career" and that i was just working this "until I found something better" at that point, I could do nothing. Now, scheduling is based on seniority, which i believe is fair.

Ravenlord
06-17-2005, 08:53 PM
While I'm bashing, why is it that certain items are out of stock for days, when I watched documentary about Walmart on TV that hailed their state-of-the-art, networked inventory system that ties every store's register to Bentonville? The running joke between my wife and me is "Which items will they be out of today?" :laugh: We never complete a shopping list at that place, be it general merchandise or groceries.department managers typically don't know how to control ordering, the Store Manager's incompetance, and the "Inventory Contol Squad" avoids work like a Teamster on vaccation.

M2
06-17-2005, 10:59 PM
http://home.att.net/~too-much-tv/lancelink.jpg

Why there's been no Hollywood spinoff to that show baffles me. I'd pay almost anything to see a talking chimp movie.

WVRed
06-17-2005, 11:41 PM
Bottom line time: Does anyone think things would be worse for Walmart employees if they had a union?

Yes, they would be jobless, as Wal-Mart closes stores that attempt to unionize.

But to answer the question, it depends on how the union is run. If the union tries to fight for the lazies who deserve to be fired and make it harder on Wal-Mart trying to run their business, then it would make it worse.

However, if the union is trying to fight for more benefits for employees and not working them certain hours that they would rather spend with family, then yes, I think it would make for a better workplace.

Its a two-edged sword. Look at the NHL and NBA, that can tell you the downside of unions.

GAC
06-18-2005, 08:56 AM
Bottom line time: Does anyone think things would be worse for Walmart employees if they had a union?

Seeing that the other major retailers, who don't have unions, and who are in a fight with Wal-Mart in a highly competitive market that draws/keeps consumers by controlling costs/low pricing...Yes.

Target and so many others would love to see a union in at Wal-Marts. ;)

But I've stated this before - I see no reason why Wal-Mart cannot do a better job at providing better benefits for their employees. Your employees are the "backbone" of your success. You take care of them and guess what - there is no need for a union.

919191
06-18-2005, 11:12 AM
But I've stated this before - I see no reason why Wal-Mart cannot do a better job at providing better benefits for their employees. Your employees are the "backbone" of your success. You take care of them and guess what - there is no need for a union.

Corporate greed, perhaps?

WVRed
06-18-2005, 11:29 AM
Here is a good read on Wal-Mart.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wal-Mart


The target of persistent unionizing efforts, Wal-Mart aggressively resists union attempts. On several occasions, the company has been found to have acted illegally to prevent unionization. Wal-Mart is alleged to have fired workers sympathetic to unionization, and the company does show anti-union videos in an effort to discourage unionization. So far, only a few North American stores have successfully voted to unionize. Of these, at least one (Jonquière in the province of Québec) was closed within one year of the successful vote to unionize.

In 2000, the meat-cutting department of the Wal-Mart superstore in Jacksonville, Texas voted to unionize. Eleven days later, Wal-Mart eliminated its meat-cutting operations at all Wal-Mart stores and switched to buying pre-cut meats. Likewise, when the employees of a Wal-Mart in Jonquière, Quebec, Canada voted to unionize, Wal-Mart announced that it would close the store for "financial difficulties" even though the Jonquière superstore was more profitable than the neighboring Saguenay superstore which still remains open today. [6] (http://montreal.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=qc-walmart20050209)

On April 30, 2005, Wal-Mart closed the doors at its first North American, unionized, outlet. The closure eliminated almost 200 jobs in the small town of Jonquière, Quebec. Wal-Mart Canada spokesman Kevin Groh, said the store shut at noon April 30 rather than the planned date of May 6 because it no longer had any merchandise.

Michael J. Fraser, the union's national director said; "Wal-Mart is trying to send a message to the rest of their employees that if they join a union the same thing could happen to them," The union will be filing unfair labor practice charges against Wal-Mart in Quebec.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union has drives in at least 25 Canadian stores. Workers at the Jonquiere store received union certification in August,2004 and Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec has the only remaining unionized Wal-Mart in North America.

The consulting firm AT Kearny has stated that above all, low labor costs are a big source of cost advantage for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart's employees might begin at as little as $8 an hour which is 20-30% less than unionized workers at rival discount stores.

Wal-Mart's CEO, H. Lee Scott Jr. Scott is on record as saying that Wal-Mart sees no upside to the higher labor costs and "a bunch of work rules". In both cases, Wal-Mart has claimed that the increased costs associated with a unionized workforce would lead to unprofitability at current retail price levels. Rather than raise retail prices, the company elected to eliminate those jobs.

There have been several other votes to unionize at North American stores. In most cases, unionization proposals are defeated by employees. Critics argue that this is due to employees' fear of corporate retaliation. Wal-Mart states that employees are aware of the company's cost structure and corporate strategy, so the employees assume that the store will not raise prices in order to accommodate union-related costs.

The Quebec Labour Relations Board found the company guilty of harassing and intimidating workers trying to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union at another store in Ste-Foy, Quebec. [7] (http://montreal.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=qc-walmart20050225)

In Germany, all companies of considerable size are required by law to consider the views of workers through each company's or store's so-called "workers' council", but Wal-Mart has, so far, failed to comply and have been seriously criticized by the German media.

So thats why Wal-Marts meats are pre-cut. :rolleyes:

RBA
06-19-2005, 02:50 AM
Published on <A href="http://www.taipeitimes.com/">TaipeiTimes
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2005/06/19/2003259911 (http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2005/06/19/2003259911)


Wal-Mart broke child labor laws: report


NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT
Sunday, Jun 19, 2005,Page 11



A state investigation found 11 violations of child labor laws at three Wal-Mart stores in Connecticut, including instances of teenagers illegally operating heavy machinery and working late into the evening, state officials said on Friday.



The violations were discovered during an investigation ordered by Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell in February, shortly after federal labor officials found similar violations of child labor laws at 24 Wal-Mart stores nationally between 1999 and 2001, including at 20 stores in Connecticut.

In the federal investigation, the stores were given advance notice of the investigation, and Wal-Mart was ordered to pay US$135,540 in fines, angering lawmakers and children's advocacy groups, which said the penalty was too small.

The Connecticut investigation uncovered additional instances of child labor violations, officials said.

The most serious were found at a store in Putnam, in northeastern Connecticut, where there were three instances of people under 18 operating equipment like compactors to crush cardboard, said Gary Pechie, the director of the wage and workplace standards division of the state Department of Labor. There were also two cases of teenagers working at the Putnam store past 10pm, the limit for young workers, he said.

On three occasions each at stores in Norwalk and Hartford, people younger than 18 were working who had not provided proof of age to their employer, as the law requires, Pechie said.

The state found the violations after 337 questionnaires were distributed to minors who had worked at the state's 32 Wal-Mart stores since 2003.

Out of the 46 questionnaires returned, the state found the 11 violations involving 11 minors, Pechie said.

"One problem is the high turnover with a lot of minors, some of whom were in Iraq and couldn't return the questionnaire," he said.

The state fined Wal-Mart US$300 for each of the 11 violations. Rell is considering whether to ask the Legislature to increase fines for such violations, said Rich Harris, a spokesman.

Marty Heires, a company spokesman, said the company was aware of the violations that involved hours and working papers but not those involving heavy machinery. But he added that the company is trying to comply with laws on minors.

MrCinatit
06-19-2005, 04:53 AM
and yet another article on Wal*Mart:

http://www.sptimes.com/2005/06/14/Tampabay/Suit_says_missing_smi.shtml

ST. PETERSBURG - Molly Beavers lost her smile early on in her 19-year career of pushing food samples and collecting grocery carts she could barely see over.

Her scowl may have cost her the job.

A Sam's Club manager fired her in December 2003 for not smiling enough, she says. Beavers' face is partially paralyzed from surgery related to her condition as an achondroplastic dwarf.

Beavers, 49, filed an Americans With Disabilities Act complaint in federal court Friday, alleging that Sam's Club and parent company Wal-Mart discriminated against her when they fired her. She claims they knew about her health problems and failed to accommodate her.

The complaint says Beavers is seeking a jury trial, but Beavers says she's really seeking an apology and some compensation for the last two years she has been unemployed.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Christi Gallagher declined to speak about the lawsuit.

"I can tell you that Wal-Mart's policy prohibits discrimination of any kind," Gallagher said.

Beavers is also one of the 5,000 women alleging Wal-Mart discriminated against them in a high profile class-action lawsuit that's working its way through the courts.

Although partial paralysis has saddled her with a permanent frown, Beavers said she lived for her food demonstration job.

She commuted by bus each morning for one hour from St. Petersburg to the Clearwater Sam's Club along Gulf to Bay Boulevard to offer tastes of biscuits and gravy and pigs-in-a-blanket to Sam's Club customers.

She started working for a Sam's Club's predecessor, Pace Membership Warehouse, on U.S. 19 in Pinellas County in 1984, when she was 28. She rode her bicycle about 10 miles to and from work every day, until a car hit her and left her unconscious, battered and bruised.

Beavers said she can't remember the exact date of the surgery that paralyzed her face but that it occurred when she was working at Pace and it was to correct a glandular disorder.

Now, a slight upward curl of her right cheek sends painful muscle spasms shooting down the right side of her lower face.

When Sam's Club bought the Pace Membership Warehouse in 1993, the company treated Pace employees as if they had always been Sam's Club employees, keeping their pay and benefits.

Beavers said she had worked for the companies so long, she earned full benefits and made $10 an hour.

She said her problems at work began earlier in 2003, when she tripped in a produce aisle drainage hole and fell to the ground. Her demonstration cart and microwave oven toppled over on her, she said.

Beavers filed a workers' compensation claim. Sam's Club did not process the claim nor pay for treatment, the federal complaint states.

Although Beavers recovered, back problems lingered. When she asked to sit on a stool while working, her manager would not allow it, the lawsuit states.

Beavers said a few older employees were allowed to sit on stools.

Later, when new store manager Ralph Lail fired her, he told her it was because she didn't smile enough at customers and co-workers, the lawsuit states. When Beavers explained her facial paralysis, Lail said, "that's no excuse," according to the federal filing.

Beavers said she was devastated, because she couldn't live on her own anymore.

"What I liked best was making money and being dependable - all on my own," said Beavers, who recently filed to collect federal disability payments, which she received as a child.

When church pastor Jackie McMillan of Clearview Methodist Church heard about Beavers' problems, she asked another church member, Bonnie Self of St. Petersburg, to take her in. Beavers has been living with Self for two years.

"When they agreed to help her and take her in, it was a wonderful thing for her," McMillan said.

Her church friend hooked Beavers up with the Impact Fund in Berkeley, Calif., which is leading the litigation for women accusing Wal-Mart of discrimination.

The Impact Fund interviewed Beavers in 2004, said Mary Broughton, a paralegal there. Broughton declined to talk specifically about Beavers' case.

Beavers said she misses work but wouldn't work for Sam's Club again, even if she was offered her old job back at $10 an hour.

"I hope I never see them again. I don't want to see them again," Beavers said. "I won't say nothing if I do see them, but it just hurts me inside."

Ravenlord
06-19-2005, 05:00 AM
she was there for ten years making $10/hour???

i was there for 11 months and was making $8.20/hour.

jmcclain19
06-19-2005, 05:31 AM
Here's my experience with unions.

My brother was the manager of the largest water park here in the Phoenix area for five years. This winter, he was offered big bucks to go back to the east coast and work for a Six Flags waterpark which had been underperforming.

When he arrived, he did, as he did every year with his former job, had everyone pass tests of first aid, swimming, lifeguard knowledge, etc.

To his surprise, four of his top employees, including the former supervisor which he supplanted in a newly created position, couldn't even pass the basic swim test. Two of those were the department "instructors" who taught other lifeguards the basic skills to get them certified.

So he moved to have them fired right away, as you can't have lifeguards who can't swim, especially one's in power in a major meto water park.

Turned out that when filling out the job requirements, someone neglected to mention "swimming" and other life saving aspects as part of the job, so the union was able to block the four employees firings.

His response was to move those four individuals to the lowest areas where their lack of skills could do the least amount of damage, but the Human Resources dept has told him he also can not hire four new employees to supplement those four.

The union was also able to stop it the first month when he reduced each full time employee to one shift, as they were hired for a minimum of X amount of hours and because they hadn't been fired.

So the end result, was he had to write all four up to put it on record, and is forced to have each work a minimum of 30 hours at their jobs, on the cusp of saving lives swimming in the water.

The morale of the story - I won't tell you which Six Flags it is, other than it's in the upper east coast region of the country.

But if you're taking a visit this summer to any of that company's water parks in that area, watch your kids at all times, because those type of lifeguards, those who can't swim, is your safety net for keeping them alive.

jmcclain19
06-19-2005, 05:32 AM
Unions CAN be a good thing.

However, unions can also be corrupt, bloated, and useless. At their core, I respect their mission: solidarity among the workers to lobby for better wages and working conditions. However, I worked under the UVCW local 1059 for seven years at kroger, and I can say firsthand that the union was responsible for keeping more useless employees in more jobs than I care to count. Many times the leadership of larger unions are corrupt, and the benefits they offer the workers on the lowest rung of the ladder is often menial. They also do an amazingly thorough job of keeping surly, lazy and just plain bad employees around, because management is afraid to fire them for fear of a greivance being filed.

I realize that stance is fairly right wing, and I tend to veer to the left on most social issues. And I don't mean to say that all unions are corrupt, useless, bloated etc. But enough of them are to warrant a serious examination as to how many of them are *truly* protecting workers.

props for this post - hit the nail right on the head.

Steve4192
06-19-2005, 08:27 AM
The most serious were found at a store in Putnam, in northeastern Connecticut, where there were three instances of people under 18 operating equipment like compactors to crush cardboard
That was the most serious infraction?

Color me unimpressed.

I had a summer job at a local moving & storage company when I was in HS was stoked to get paid twice what my friends at the mall got paid while working outside. On occassion, part of the job was operating a compactor and crushing boxes and other packing materials. The guy who usually operated the compactor was the thirtysomingthing retarded (sorry, I forget the current PC term for the condition) nephew of the owner. When he was off making coffee or doing custodial work, they had the HS kids operate the compactor in his absence.

If that employer was violating child labor laws by letting me operate that machine and work long hours in the summer, I'd just like to say to them ... 'THANKS!'. I would have been pissed if some government agency came in and cost me a great job (for a HS kid) because they didn't think I could operate a machine that was regularly manned by a guy with a 60 IQ.

Falls City Beer
06-19-2005, 01:07 PM
Do you like weekends off (days off), health benefits, fair wages? Those wouldn't exist without unions.

Believe it or not, not everyone on earth is cut out to "be his/her own boss." We can't all run internet companies. Some of us have to pick up the trash, fix the cars, build the cars, wait tables, bag groceries, teach. And yes, those people are humans too.

Unions can be corrupt, no doubt, but they check corruption on the management side so that your parents and your parents' parents didn't HAVE to live in Fordtowns to survive. A little gratitude is due, IMO.

reds_fan29
06-19-2005, 01:16 PM
Do you like weekends off (days off), health benefits, fair wages? Those wouldn't exist without unions.

Believe it or not, not everyone on earth is cut out to "be his/her own boss." We can't all run internet companies. Some of us have to pick up the trash, fix the cars, build the cars, wait tables, bag groceries, teach. And yes, those people are humans too.

Unions can be corrupt, no doubt, but they check corruption on the management side so that your parents and your parents' parents didn't HAVE to live in Fordtowns to survive. A little gratitude is due, IMO.


very well said

RedsBaron
06-19-2005, 01:45 PM
Do you like weekends off (days off), health benefits, fair wages? Those wouldn't exist without unions.

Believe it or not, not everyone on earth is cut out to "be his/her own boss." We can't all run internet companies. Some of us have to pick up the trash, fix the cars, build the cars, wait tables, bag groceries, teach. And yes, those people are humans too.

Unions can be corrupt, no doubt, but they check corruption on the management side so that your parents and your parents' parents didn't HAVE to live in Fordtowns to survive. A little gratitude is due, IMO.
I agree. I do not belong to a union. My late father, a blue collar worker, did. Unions have a lot of shortcomings, but so does about everything else.

WVRed
06-19-2005, 01:52 PM
Unions can be corrupt, no doubt, but they check corruption on the management side so that your parents and your parents' parents didn't HAVE to live in Fordtowns to survive. A little gratitude is due, IMO.

But the problem lies in that these unions keep people in work that otherwise should have been fired or demoted a long time ago.

Dont get me wrong, im in favor of unions. I think Wal-Mart should be the perfect example of why unions should exist. However, some of the examples listed on these threads show the corruption of those unions.

Steve4192
06-19-2005, 02:07 PM
But the problem lies in that these unions keep people in work that otherwise should have been fired or demoted a long time ago.
No doubt.

The question is do unions do more harm than good, and IMO the answer is a resounding NO! For every shiftless lazy bum a union keeps employed, there are a plethora of hard working dedicated people that the union keeps from being exploited.

919191
06-19-2005, 07:12 PM
No doubt.

The question is do unions do more harm than good, and IMO the answer is a resounding NO! For every shiftless lazy bum a union keeps employed, there are a plethora of hard working dedicated people that the union keeps from being exploited.

I agree. I myself am a right wing conservative, kind of reactionary, yet I am pro union.

registerthis
06-20-2005, 10:10 AM
Do you like weekends off (days off), health benefits, fair wages? Those wouldn't exist without unions.

Believe it or not, not everyone on earth is cut out to "be his/her own boss." We can't all run internet companies. Some of us have to pick up the trash, fix the cars, build the cars, wait tables, bag groceries, teach. And yes, those people are humans too.

Unions can be corrupt, no doubt, but they check corruption on the management side so that your parents and your parents' parents didn't HAVE to live in Fordtowns to survive. A little gratitude is due, IMO.
No one here is saying that union's haven't served workers well in the past, or in some cases continue to do so. Particularly during the early half of the 20th century, they were absolutely vital to combat unfair and dangerous management practices.

But it has become a classic example of something starting off well and then spiralling out of control. Unions have moved from pro-worker to anti-management, which frequently results in many of the examples listed in this thread. Workers aren't protected so much as they are insulated from management, who many times may have just cause to fire the workers, yet cannot do so for fear of union reprisal.

I'm not arguing that unions should be abolished, but there needs to be tighter controls and regulations on these organizations that frequently foster corruption, greed and laziness.

919191
06-20-2005, 10:17 AM
I've been up all night- night shift. I might later tryu to post some info on behavior-based safety management. It basically is accidents are caused by improper decisions by employers. If there is a hole in the middle of a corrider 15 feet deep, and a worker falls into it, it is his fault completely because he engaged in dangerous behavior. Since he engaged in such behavior, discipline is warranted. This is a fairly new and poor philosophy taken by management.

LincolnparkRed
06-20-2005, 11:11 AM
No one here is saying that union's haven't served workers well in the past, or in some cases continue to do so. Particularly during the early half of the 20th century, they were absolutely vital to combat unfair and dangerous management practices.

But it has become a classic example of something starting off well and then spiralling out of control. Unions have moved from pro-worker to anti-management, which frequently results in many of the examples listed in this thread. Workers aren't protected so much as they are insulated from management, who many times may have just cause to fire the workers, yet cannot do so for fear of union reprisal.

I'm not arguing that unions should be abolished, but there needs to be tighter controls and regulations on these organizations that frequently foster corruption, greed and laziness.

In a previous job I was in charge of auditing unions here in Chicago and while I will say off the bat that I believe unions have served a positive purpose and should continue, I have also seen many instances of corruption and waste by those who run the union in the "best interest" of the rank and file members.

Union officials staying in hotels in downtown Chicago for hundreds of dollars a night b/c they don't want to wake up at 6 to drive in for a 9 o'clock meeting.

Taking spouses and family members on trip to Hawaii to attend meetings and then trying to have the union pay for it all.

I just think most of the people who are in charge of the unions have lost touch with their members. They are making 6 figures in most cases and living like kings while the rank and file are fighting with employers for every dime.

westofyou
06-23-2005, 09:56 PM
Wal-Mart is trying get in our neighborhood, mobilization is underway.

http://www.nosellwoodwalmart.com/

Dom Heffner
06-23-2005, 10:04 PM
But the problem lies in that these unions keep people in work that otherwise should have been fired or demoted a long time ago.

MWM, the same thing can be said about corporations. We trusted them to do their thing, and they blew it. Too bad, so sad. We need unions to keep the other side in check. Trust me, we could all share stories of corrupt companies and unions, but we need them both or we are left with corrupt companies.

Like Wal-Mart.

Women? Pay them less. And then they work people 40 plus hours and make them do it off the clock to save their own sorry butts from getting in trouble. Sorry, but I don't need a $3 belt that bad. I would rather them pay their people and I'll fork over a little more.

If corporations really wanted unions gone, they would start treating their people better instead of giving us the old "You should be happy you have a job" excuse everytime they want their workers to do absolutely ridiculous tasks.

And even unions don't make things great. My father worked at Ford Motor Company for 40 years and his salary was $50,000 a year.

redsfanmia
06-23-2005, 10:22 PM
My statement is kind of off topic as of now but I am a sales rep who services a new Walmart and I just want to give some insight into their practices. Everytime i step foot into Walmart im not asked how their sales are I am asked how much business is down in the other accounts in the area. Walmart in interested in putting other companies out of business period. Walmart is the evil empire and hopefully it will be stopped or slowed soon!!!!