Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Attempts to unionize Wal-Mart

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't support employee unions - I think they're destructive and counter-productive. I supported the grocery stores and the temporary replacement workers in the recent UFCW strike at Vons, Ralphs, and Albertsons. So it should come as no surprise that I vigorously applaud the recent news that Wal-Mart will close the Quebec store which experienced the first successful attempt to unionize Wal-Mart employees:
Wal-Mart said it is shuttering the store in Jonquiere, Quebec, in response to unreasonable demands from union negotiators that would make it impossible for the store to sustain its business. The United Food and Commercial Workers of Canada last week asked Quebec labor officials to appoint a mediator, saying that negotiations had reached an impasse.
I certainly recognize the right of employees to exercise their First Amendment freedom of association (oh - did everyone forget that "peaceably to assemble" part?), and band together to negotiate with business or other groups. There should never, IMO, be a case where government steps in to prevent a body of employees to unionize in order to attempt to obtain a better deal. But for that freedom to exist, there must also exist the freedom of businesses to open, close, move, resize, hire, fire, and basically operate at their own discretion (within the law of course). And that absolutely includes closing a store at which a union has just formed.

Businesses are owned and operated by people, just as they are staffed by people, and the customers they serve are - you guessed it - people. The free market decisions made by all three of those bodies of people (each of which are just as free as the next to exercise those decisions) are what drives our incredible economy and those decisions, when freely made, should be honored and applauded, not decried and restricted.


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