Wal-Mart organizing drive spreads to Texas

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DALLAS -- Wal-Mart workers across the country are organizing themselves into unions with the United Food and Commercial Workers, even in Texas! The organizing committee held a press conference outside a Wal-Mart at the extreme southern end of Dallas on June 1. It was one of 20 held nationwide as lead-up to Wal-Marts shareholders' meeting on June 5 in Arkansas. North Texas Jobs with Justice backed them up, as did students from Denton, Texas, and civil rights leader Reverend L. Charles Stovall. The coordinating union leader was from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), but the workers are apparently joining UFCW. Both are members of the Change to Win Federation.

The SEIU organizer and two of the internal organizing committee members appeared on the 'Workers Beat' radio program on KNON radio on June 3. They reported that Wal-Mart has a special anti-union team that shows up wherever organizing is mentioned. Carefully skirting the law, management begins holding 'voluntary' anti-union meetings with prepared videos, then they pressure every reluctant 'associate' to attend.

'It would be good for America to organize Wal-Mart,' said organizer Sarah Solis, 'because they are the main anti-union force in America.' She also brought the Employee Free Choice Act into the discussion several times. If Americans enjoyed the same freedom to organize as other industrialized countries, Wal-Mart would already be union.

It is fitting that Dallas should get one of the organizing drives now underway. UFCW Local 540 from Dallas organized a meat cutters' unit in Jacksonville, Texas, nine years ago. Despite the company's world's worst stalling, the union stayed by the workers there and is currently negotiating their benefits.

Although Wal-Mart is organized in other countries, including China, Local 540's accomplishment was the breakthrough in the United States.