Walmart Politics

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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has accused Walmart of unfairly disciplining works who participated in recent demonstrations over the minimum wage and other working conditions. Wal-Mart is fighting the claim.

The Wagner Act of 1935 created the NLRB and granted workers the right to strike against their employers over pay, working conditions, and other job-related issues, but the demonstrations last year were really protests, not strikes. They were orchestrated by the SEIU and left-wing interests in an effort to influence public policy. Walmart did not recognize the demonstrations as “a strike” and warned workers that not showing up for work would be treated like any other absence.  Many were disciplined and some were even fired.

Wal-Mart is correct to fight the NLRB here. A strike is an employee-organized refusal to work in order to gain concessions from an employer. Actions that are organized and funded by outsiders or do not seek specific negotiations shouldn’t qualify as a strike. Legally, this is a battle over the definition of a strike. Politically, it’s a battle over the ability of deep-pocket leftist activists like George Soros to unduly influence the business practice of private firms by funding broad worker protests without recourse.

This fight illustrates an expanded progressive agenda. The right to strike was supposed to be about a balance of power between companies and workers. In recent years, an ever-expanding NLRB using tax dollars to fight on behalf of labor interests has tilted the balance in favor of workers. Now, Our Walmart and other activist groups want the right to jump in the fray as well. Make no mistake…the mid-term goal here is to unionize large, highly visible employers like Walmart, McDonald’s and Amazon, and control others through governmental mandates like higher minimum wages, protected leave, required health care, and the like.

While I certainly sympathize with Walmart on this issue, it’s ironic that the company just lowered its 2013 fourth quarter revenue and profit estimates in part because of deeper than expected cuts to Washington’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Walmart depends on welfare programs like SNAP, giving the firm a vested interested in maintaining big government. In other words, Walmart’s interests are best served through intrusive government in some areas and limited government in others. As true liberty-minded conservatives and libertarians, we should respect great companies but not accept their agendas without question.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. delta  •  Feb 4, 2014 @12:04 PM

    I’m glad Walmart is fighting this. If they lose, it will have a chilling effect across the nation and it will empower big money on the left

  2. Aliza  •  Feb 4, 2014 @2:24 PM

    So big government is good for businesses? I’m lovin’ it.

  3. Larry White  •  Feb 4, 2014 @2:45 PM

    only when big government steals from taxpayers first

  4. MIKE  •  Feb 4, 2014 @10:18 PM

    Big government can only give what it takes away. Politicians only spend other people’s money.