Unions seek Wal-Mart probe over election law: report

SOURCE:

Reuters

2008-08-13 23:49:27

(Reuters) –

Labor groups are requesting an investigation

into whether Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) violated federal

election laws by telling employees that electing Democrats

would lead to passage of legislation making it easier to

unionize companies, The Wall Street Journal said citing a

letter.

The groups are asking the Federal Election Commission to

determine whether the company “made prohibited corporate

expenditures” by organizing meetings across the country to warn

employees that a Democratic president would back legislation

known as the Employee Free Choice Act, which the company

opposes, the paper said.

American Rights at Work, a worker advocacy group, the

AFL-CIO and Change to Win labor federations and

WakeUpWalMart.com, a labor-backed group, are filing the

complaint and are likely to deliver the letter as early as

Thursday, the paper said.

The complaint cites as its source an Aug 1. article in the

Journal that reported the company held meetings with thousands

of store managers and department supervisors across the country

to discuss the legislation.

The groups believe the retail giant’s statements amount to

advocating the defeat of Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive

Democratic nominee, in the November election, the paper said.

Wal-Mart “adapted their unionbusting tactics to influence

our federal election system,” Mary Beth Maxwell, executive

director of American Rights at Work, was quoted as saying by

the Journal.

Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar told the paper that the

company’s policies are clear and that anyone representing the

company and telling associates how to vote were “wrong and

acting without approval.”

“We welcome the FEC looking into this, because we are

confident they will find what we have known all along, that we

did nothing wrong,” Tovar was quoted by the paper as saying.

A Wal-Mart spokesman told Reuters that Tovar’s comments

were accurate but did not comment further.

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; Editing by Ben

Tan) ((ajay.kamalakaran@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646

223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800; Reuters Messaging:

ajay.kamalakaran.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)

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