Loblaw, Wal-Mart and labor

Ever since the start of the Greek debt crisis, I’ve gotten into the habit of flipping the pages of the Globe&Mail’s Report on Business section. This piece: Loblaw seeks flexibility, locks horns with union on work ruleswas at the front page of yesterday’s page. Go read it, it’s a nice description of an episode of good, old fashioned class struggle.

Here are some comments.

1) No one is even considering attacking Wal-Mart’s anti-union practices. Somehow, they are considered natural: “who wouldn’t want more flexibility in terms of overtime, work hours and job descriptions?” Well,  I dunno, maybe the workers?

2) Here’s the only thing contained in the article about Wal-Mart labor policies: “A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said its wages and benefits are competitive, and it provides overtime pay.” To Ms Marina Strauss, author of the article, a question please: Do you call that journalism?? I mean, come on, just quoting the Wal-Mart spokesperson? How about some labor union opinion? Some investigative journalism? Something?! What are you, an embedded journalist?

3) Per the neoliberal (“objectivist”, “libertarian” and all that BS) dogmas, free market capitalism “raises all the boats”, “increases the pie” etc. Well, guess what? One corporation cripples their labor, now all their competitors start doing the same! Hurray for everyone ending up with “more flexible”, less well paid jobs. Markets rule! Yay!

4) Force Wal-Mart to repeal its anti-union policies? Whaaat!!! What’s next? Gulags? And to think that such a simple social-democratic reform would just mean leveling the field, bolstering competition on equal terms for companies… But, hey, this is the DOGMA. Thou shall not touch the DOGMA.


Loblaw, Wal-Mart and labor

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