Wal-Mart Won’t Fight Unions in China

Nov 23, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Go right to the Wal-Mart Stores Web site and you’ll see it in black and white. The company maintains its employees do not need to be represented by any union.

“At Wal-Mart, we respect the individual rights of our associates and encourage them to express their ideas, comments and concerns. Because we believe in maintaining an environment of open communications, we do not believe there is a need for third-party representation.”

While there’s no indication the company has changed its position on the topic, the reality of doing business in China means the retailer may just have to get used to dealing with unions.

The company announced it would not discourage its Chinese workers from seeking union representation if that’s what they wanted.

In a released statement, the company said, “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. Currently, there are no unions in Wal-Mart China because associates have not requested that one be formed. 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 and other multinationals, such as Dell and Eastman Kodak, reports Bloomberg, have recently come under criticism from the All-China Federation of Trade Unions for not allowing unions to organize.

Moderator’s Comment: Does its experience in Germany and elsewhere where employees have representation suggest that Wal-Mart really can’t do business
effectively when its stores are unionized?

Wal-Mart has brought its own “cultural revolution” to China. Mao must be rolling over in his grave.
George Anderson – Moderator

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