Labor groups take on Wal-Mart

Hispanic Community Wal-Mart store in Garland, Texas

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: One place where prices haven't been rising that much is Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart's been relying on volume, and it seems to be working. The company reported a 17 percent increase in profits this morning.

But Wal-Mart does have problems. There was a Wall Street Journal story a couple weeks ago that said Wal-Mart managers met and talked about the danger of a Democrat in the White House. They said it would lead to more unionization. Now, several labor groups want the government to investigate what Wal-Mart's might be doing about this. Alisa Roth explains.


Alisa Roth: Federal election law says it's illegal for employers to tell hourly workers how to vote. The complaint -- which is being filed with the Federal Election Commission today -- says Wal-Mart violated that rule by holding meetings at which it effectively told workers not to vote for Barack Obama.

The AFL-CIO and the labor-backed WakeUpWalMart.com are among the groups asking for the investigation. Stacy Lock Temple is with Wal-Mart Watch, another advocacy group which wrote a similar letter to the commission last week.

Stacy Lock Temple: The ramifications are far-reaching, because Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the nation with 1.4 million employees. Wal-Mart has a long history of union-busting, and it also has a long history of intimidating its employees.

Wal-Mart didn't return calls before my deadline today. But a spokesman told the Wall Street Journal the company's glad the commission will look into this, "because we're confident they will find that we did nothing wrong."

In New York, I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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