Wal-Mart Denies It Told Employees How to Vote

Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. denied a report Friday that it had pressured employees to vote against Democrats in November because of worries that a bill the party supports would make it easier for workers to unionize, according to the Associated Press.

The measure, called the Employee Free Choice Act, would allow labor organizations to unionize workplaces without secret ballot elections. It was co-sponsored by Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic presidential candidate, and opposed by John McCain, the presumed Republican nominee.

Wal-Mart spokesman Dave Tovar told The Associated Press that the company did discuss the bill with its employees, including what it sees as the negative impact, and noted that the company's stand on the legislation is no secret.

"We believe the Employee Free Choice Act is a bad bill and we have been on the record as opposed to it," he said.

But he said the company wasn't advocating that its employees vote against backers of the legislation.

"If anyone representing Wal-Mart gave the impression ... they are wrong and acting without approval," said Tovar. In fact, he said that Wal-Mart has been working with both Republicans and Democrats.

"Half of our (political action committee) contributions are to members of each party," Tovar said. "We regularly educate our associates on issues which impact our company, and this is an example of that."

A report in The Wall Street Journal on Friday said Wal-Mart had held mandatory meetings with store managers and department supervisors in recent weeks to warn that if Democrats take power in November, they would likely push through the bill, which the company says would hurt workers.

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