Sam Walton just rolled over
Some news from China.
BEIJING (AFP) - US retail giant Wal-Mart Stores saw its first trade union formed for workers at one its 60 shops in China where it started doing business in 1996.
Establishment of the union was the initiative of some 30 Wal-Mart employees in the southeast province of Fujian, Xinhua news agency said Saturday.
For the past two years the world's biggest retailer had resisted efforts to set up local unions, which are all affiliated with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) which was established by the ruling Communist Party and claims some 150 million members.
Wal-Mart has always maintained its employees were free to set up unions if they wished and insisted it was "in total conformity with Chinese law".
But at the start of July, senior Chinese official Wang Zhaoguo, who is also president of ACFTU, singled out Wal-Mart for failing to establish unions at its stores while proposing to make it compulsory for foreign firms to set up unions for employees.
According to China's trade union law, all employees have the right to join ACFTU, the country's only legal trade union.
The nation's trade union law outlaws workers from forming independent unions or organising collective bargaining activities outside the ACFTU.
Since it arrived in China in 1996, Wal-Mart has opened 60 stores in 29 cities and is said to employ more than 30,000 people across the country.
It had to happen sooner or later that some Wal-Mart employees would unionize. China may not have been considered the likely place for it to happen at first glance, but if you think about it maybe this isn't so surprising. Communist countries have always prided themselves on their worker's groups.
Note- In the two years I worked part-time for Wally World, I never once heard talk about employee efforts to unionize. Then Florida is a Right to work state.
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