Walmart’s Absurd Anti-Union Training Video Just Got Leaked

Lauren Gaynor

Ahh, the old tried and true anti-union-video-arguing-you're-selfish-for-wanting-a-union strategy.

On April 13, Wal­mart sud­den­ly shut down five stores—two in Texas, one in Cal­i­for­nia, one in Flori­da and one in Okla­homa — leav­ing 2,200 work­ers shocked and unem­ployed. Accord­ing to Los Ange­les Times reporter Michael Hiltzik, employ­ees were told that the stores have ongo­ing plumb­ing issues that require exten­sive repairs.”

As of April 16, Wal­mart still had not filed for the per­mits required to fix the plumb­ing at the stores, spark­ing spec­u­la­tion that there might not actu­al­ly be plumb­ing prob­lems — just an effort to clamp down on work­er organizing.

On April 20, employ­ees from the Pico Rivera, Cal­i­for­nia, store filed a com­plaint with the Nation­al Labor Rela­tions Board charg­ing that Wal­mart’s action was intend­ed to tar­get the Pico Rivera store, which has been the focal point of activ­i­ty by Asso­ciates for bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions.” The com­plaint was filed on behalf of OUR Wal­mart, a Unit­ed Food and Com­mer­cial Work­ers-backed orga­ni­za­tion that’s attempt­ing to orga­nize Wal­mart employees.

A recent­ly leaked Wal­mart train­ing video lends cre­dence to the sus­pi­cion that plumb­ing was not the real issue.

The video reas­sures employ­ees, Our com­pa­ny prefers to have open and direct com­mu­ni­ca­tion with our asso­ciates — we don’t think that a labor union is nec­es­sary here.”

It also crit­i­cizes the efforts of labor orga­niz­ers, say­ing, While they’ve been try­ing to con­vince asso­ciates to join their union, at the same time they’ve been spend­ing big mon­ey to hurt our busi­ness.” An employ­ee in the video responds, I don’t get it.”

In a typ­i­cal union-bust­ing tac­tic, the video implies that work­ers who want to orga­nize are self­ish: Sign­ing a union card isn’t just about you, you could also be affect­ing the peo­ple who have been try­ing to work here for years.”

Wal­mart is the lat­est in a long line of com­pa­nies to pro­duce such anti-union videos, which are almost always used as part of a broad­er cam­paign to deter work­ers from orga­niz­ing. As Hamil­ton Nolan report­ed at Gawk­er, Tar­get pro­duced a sim­i­lar video last year.

Wal­mart has shut­tered stores look­ing to union­ize in the past. In 2005, Wal­mart shut down a store in Jon­quiere, Que­bec, just as employ­ees were on the verge of win­ning a union con­tract. Almost 10 years lat­er, the Cana­di­an Supreme Court ruled that Wal­mart had vio­lat­ed labor laws due to the tim­ing of the store clos­ing, which might make you ques­tion how direct and open their com­mu­ni­ca­tion pol­i­cy real­ly is.

The video was tak­en down from YouTube ear­li­er this morn­ing, but you can watch it at Gawk­er.

Lau­ren Gaynor is a Sum­mer 2015 In These Times edi­to­r­i­al intern. She is a senior Eng­lish and Pro­fes­sion­al Writ­ing major at Michi­gan State Uni­ver­si­ty and enjoys the­ater, music and every­thing that Chica­go has to offer.
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