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Union group criticizes Wal-Mart

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A corporate watchdog group that's part of one of the nation's largest labor unions is urging retailer Wal-Mart to change its business practices.

"Wake Up Wal-Mart" is a project of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

It claims the company's practice of low wages and limited healthcare endangers working families.

The group's campaign director, Paul Blank, says Wal-Mart punishes its employees' efforts to unionize.

Wal-Mart simply shuts down the store like they did in JonquiGere, Quebec; in
the meat department in Texas where workers voted for a voice, they simply
eliminated meat departments throughout that entire division, Blank said. So this is a company that consistently puts profits before people.

The group also charges Wal-Mart actively discourages unionization.

But Wal-Mart St. Louis district manager Cindy Galati says the company does respect workers:

We have an open door that we feel works at all levels; we do not feel that our
associates need third party representation, and I feel very confident in the fact
that our associates don't believe that," Galati said.

The UFCW is one of several unions that broke away from the AFL-CIO this summer to form a rival coalition.

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