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Talk of the bay

Wal-Mart counters labor critics with its own campaign

Published January 9, 2006

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has come up with yet another way to turn the tables on its union-backed critics in an ever-escalating public relations/political war.

The discount store giant recently wrote checks to create Working Families for Wal-Mart, a "volunteer" support group of its own in response to organized labor's "grass roots" coalition and $25-million anti-Wal-Mart campaign.

The unions, which hit a brick wall organizing Wal-Mart workers, broadened their attacks once Wal-Mart started penetrating union grocery store markets.

The unions recently released polls showing Wal-Mart's public image has eroded since the campaign's launch. The implication is that Wal-Mart will suffer at the cash register. Meanwhile, the new Wal-Mart support group countered with its own poll that claims labor is no united force against Wal-Mart.

A pro-Wal-Mart group phone survey of 1,100 adults - 330 of them from union households - found that 71 percent of adults (63 percent of union households) think Wal-Mart is good for consumers; 58 percent of adults (54 percent of union households) think union leaders should make protecting union jobs a higher priority than attacking Wal-Mart; and 60 percent of Americans (44 percent of union households) think the campaign against Wal-Mart is not a good use of union dues. The survey says 45 percent of union households thought it was a good use.

[Last modified January 7, 2006, 16:54:02]

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