Wal-Mart "associates" don't need a union, says CEO
A wounded, wimpy Matt Lauer softballs new Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke on this morning's TODAY show. As they stroll down the aisles of the big-box giant discussing which time of the month customers can afford diapers for their kids, the subject of unions comes up. Striking a similar tone to D.C. Mayor Fenty's call for freeing teachers from "the burden" of collective bargaining, Duke won't even call Wal-Mart's largest workforce in the U.S. "workers."
Lauer: With 1.4 million associate employees who earn an average of $10.83 an hour [managers make as much as $11.89, cashiers make between $6.55 and $8.43--mk] Wal-Mart now faces a threat to it's corporate model. There's proposed legislation on Capitol Hill that would make it easier for unions to organize employees--the Employee Free Choice Act...Duke, who earns a hefty $13 million annually, including stock options, of course, never tells us what it is that's "unique" about his relationship with his minimum-wage "associates" or why their earning a living wage would, in the words of a Home Depot exec, "destroy the American economy."
Duke: Well of course we're opposed to that. We have a unique relationship with our associates.
The Walton Family Foundation is also the biggest funder of privately-managed, non-union charter schools. Maybe we should start calling teachers, "associates" as well.