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The Washington Post reports this morning that the advocacy group Human Rights Watch has released a report “detailing what it called excessively aggressive tactics by Wal-Mart Stores to stop union organization in its stores,” describing the retailers actions as “legal but heavy-handed.”

The report details Wal-Mart’s use of “a rapid-response team to prevent organization, a hotline for store managers and tips on staying ‘union free.’ In addition, the report cites more than a dozen rulings against Wal-Mart by the National Labor Relations Board that found that Wal-Mart illegally confiscated union literature, prohibited discussions of unions and retaliated against union supporters.”

According to the Post, “Wal-Mart criticized the report as relying on ‘incomplete interviews and unsubstantiated allegations.’ It accused the group of using the findings to bolster support for the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would make it easier for workers to organize unions and would represent one of the most significant revisions of federal labor law in 60 years.”

Human Rights Watch has endorsed the Employee Free Choice Act.
KC's View:
This report is getting a fair amount of attention from the media (including, we suppose, MNB, since we’re reporting on it). But we’re not sure it really changes anything. Most of the details in the report have been widely publicized over the years, and Wal-Mart’s defense was fairly predictable.

What would have been refreshing would have been if Wal-Mart’s response had been as follows:

Damn right we’re anti-union. They’ll raise our costs, result in us having to raise our prices, and represent the biggest potential threat to the way we do business. If people don’t want to work for us, let them go work for Kmart. Or Winn-Dixie. Or A&P.

But no. People will keep lining up to apply for jobs at Wal-Mart because they know we’re going to survive not just this decade, but into the next century. And quite frankly, if the unions don’t stop worrying about their own political power base and start being more concerned with their actual members, we think we’re going to outlive them, too.

So they can go to hell.

Now that would be front page news.