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Martin Murray

Could Unions Hinder Wal-Mart?

By January 23, 2013

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warehouse Wal-Mart had a less than stellar year as far as public relations is concerned; walkouts, strikes, lawsuits and iPads being thrown like Frisbees. As the unions try to make in-roads into the Wal-Mart way of life, it could be that one of the things that Wal-Mart prides themselves in, could be used against them. The Wal-Mart supply chain is very dependent on the massive warehouses that are spread across the country and supplies the individual stores. If the unions put pressure on disrupting the movement of goods through these warehouses, product shortages could start to appear in the stores.

There were strikes at Wal-Mart warehouses in Illinois and California last year and this could escalate if workers take advantage of labor law that allows them to use "concerted activity" to defend their rights. Labor Notes comments that warehouse disruption can cause bottlenecks for Wal-Mart and it can occur even if some workers take action, not the whole warehouses staff. Wal-Mart's warehouse workers are very often low-paid, temporary employees who are only hired for short periods, rather than permanent employees who are eligible for benefits.

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