Discounting Rights: Wal-Mart's Violation of US Workers' Right to Freedom of Association

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The right of workers to form and join trade unions is a fundamental human right that the United States is legally bound to protect. In practice, it falls far short. US labor laws do not meet international norms and permit a wide-range of employer tactics that interfere with and can ultimately deny workers the right to organize. Penalties for violating these laws are so weak that they do not deter illegal conduct. Endemic delays in enforcement further undermine their efficacy. Wal-Mart's aggressive anti-union apparatus is not a model that should be replicated. Wal-Mart needs to change course. It should immediately put an end to tactics that coercively interfere with worker organizing and, as an industry leader, go further and pledge to remain neutral during union campaigns. US labor laws should be reformed, beginning with enactment of the Employee Free Choice Act, to safeguard workers' right to choose whether to organize and to restore a fair and democratic union selection process.
 

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