Don’t think the 2008 elections are important? Wal-Mart does. That’s why it’s corporate executives are pressuring its supervisory employees to vote against Democrats in the November election, according to a recent article by the .

What are they afraid of? Wal-Mart executives believe that a Democratic victory will usher in the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, the article indicated. The has already passed in the US House and would make it easier for workers who want to join labor unions to do so.

The bill essentially imposes heavier sanctions against employers who use illegal threats and harassment to prevent workers from exercising their right to join a union.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama recently re-stated his pledge to sign the Employee Free Choice Act, telling labor activists on a recent conference call that he would a president who is unafraid to ‘say we need a stronger labor movement in this country.’

John McCain opposed the bill and helped filibuster it in the Senate in 2007. He insists that workers should face corporate abuses alone.

Wal-Mart has fought for decades against labor union organizing in its stores. A recent e-mail alert from Wal-Mart Watch, which advocates workers rights at Wal-Mart, said, ‘With weakened workers’ rights, Wal-Mart can bully its employees to skip breaks and work ‘off the clock’ for no pay.’

The alert also pointed out that ‘Wal-Mart has received numerous fines for violating the Family and Medical Leave Act – firing employees for taking federally protected medical leave.’ Wal-Mart Watch is circulating an that will be sent to the company’s executives telling them to stop intimidating workers.

In 2007, published a report documenting Wal-Mart’s systematic violation of workers rights in its stores. According to the report, the company uses unlawful threats of retaliation against employees, spying, and mandatory ‘captive audience’ meetings to instill its anti-union message along with its threats to new employees.

Most of these actions are illegal, but sanctions are so minimal that Wal-Mart has little incentive to obey the law, the report stated. The Employee Free Choice Act would provide that incentive.

One anonymous employee said that at one mandatory meeting on the elections, her bosses told her and her co-workers how to vote. ‘I am not a stupid person. They were telling me how to vote,’ the Wall Street Journal article quoted her as saying.

In its denial of that comment, a Wal-Mart spokesperson was quoted as replying that any employee saying such things is ‘wrong and acting without approval.’

The mandatory meetings on how to vote are a clear act of intimidation against workers who whose political rights are under threat, Wal-Mart Watch said. Even the Wal-Mart response suggesting an employee needs approval to speak about what happened at a mandatory meeting appears to violate basic free speech rights.

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