AFL-CIO Joins Worker Rights Groups in Filing Formal Complaint with FEC Against Wal-Mart

August 14, 2008
4:20 PM

Alison Omens (202) 637-5018

AFL-CIO Joins Worker Rights Groups in Filing Formal Complaint with FEC Against Wal-Mart
WASHINGTON - August 14 - Today, the AFL-CIO, joined by other worker rights groups, filed a formal complaint with the FEC demanding they look into Wal-Mart’s intimidation of workers. The complaint stems from a Wall Street Journal article that detailed the specific steps Wal-Mart took to encourage employees to vote against Sen. Obama because of his support of the Employee Free Choice Act.

“Wal-Mart has bullied its workers and managers for years. Now it wants to bully the political process, and the FEC should take Wal-Mart’s threats very seriously,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. “Wal-Mart has shown exactly why our nation needs the Employee Free Choice Act - - we must outlaw the kind of behavior for which Wal-Mart is famous and give workers a free and fair choice on whether to form a union.”

The complaint states, “there is reason to believe that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has made prohibited corporate expenditures by expressly advocating against Senator Obama’s election to employees who were not in its restricted class in violation of 2 U.S.C. § 441b. We request that the Commission immediately open an investigation to determine whether a violation occurred and, if so, to take all appropriate steps to remedy that violation of federal election law.”

The complaint explains that "informing employees that it is imperative that the Employee Free Choice Act not be enacted and, simultaneously, that their voting for Senator Obama and other Democrats would lead to its enactment constitutes express advocacy" that Wal-Mart cannot finance.

It goes on to say: “The Employee Free Choice Act is strongly opposed by Wal-Mart because it would, in fact, go a long way toward rectifying the imbalance that currently exists between workers seeking to form unions and employers that oppose them. Currently, the law fails to effectively protect workers seeking to organize, and employers are able to violate the law with virtual impunity. This legislation would allow workers throughout the United States to decide whether or not to form a union. If an employer intimidates or obstructs a worker’s free choice, it would incur increased penalties. Senator Obama is a co-sponsor of the legislation, while his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, opposes the bill and voted against bringing it to the Senate floor last year.”

The complaint was filed on behalf of the AFL-CIO, American Rights at Work, Change to Win, and

For a full copy of the complaint, contact the AFL-CIO Media Outreach Dept. at 202-637-5018.