Wal-Mart versus unions

Some former Wal-Mart managers say the hardball tactics are standard company policy. Jon M. Lehman says he left Wal-Mart on good terms last fall after 17 years as a store manager but now works for the UFCW. He recounts how he called a Bentonville hotline in 1997 after finding a flyer that said: “This store needs a union” in a bathroom at the store he managed in Hillview, Ky.

The response was a mini version of what occurred in Las Vegas four years later. Three labor experts swooped in from Arkansas to show anti-union videos at mandatory employee meetings, says Lehman, and scoured personnel files for dirt to use against union supporters. The labor experts grilled him and other Hillview managers about potential troublemakers, and the store trained surveillance cameras on suspect workers, he says. Now, as a union organizer, he recently noticed that a store in Scottsburg, Ind., sprouted a multitude of cameras after he began talking to workers there in July. Wal-Mart declined comment on Lehman, although a spokesman says that the 15 cameras installed in Scottsburg have “nothing to do with union activity.”

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/02_43/b3805095.htm

Wow, one piece of paper and one phone call seemingly caused Wal-Mart to spend thousands of dollars.

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