NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Unions' War On Super-Stores

October 21, 1999

Most traditional supermarket chains are unionized. But employees of superstores, such as Wal-Mart and Costco, usually are not. So unions are on a campaign to legislate them out of business, according to observers.

  • Recently, legislative bodies in Tucson, Ariz., and Clark County, Nev. -- which encompasses Las Vegas -- have passed laws effectively banning stores over 100,000 square feet if more than 15,000 square feet is devoted to groceries.
  • California's Democratic legislature recently rushed through a bill banning superstores -- which was vetoed by Gov. Gray Davis (D), who said he might sign such legislation at a later time.
  • Nevertheless, five California cities have passed resolutions to ban superstores.
  • In Colorado and New Mexico, trial lawyers have filed class-action suits against Wal-Mart -- alleging unfair treatment of workers -- and a somewhat similar suit has been filed in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has charged that the unions were trying to "use political muscle, intimidation and exclusion to actually prevent the creation of new working-class jobs in Nevada." The paper then asked: "Why not just pass an ordinance granting the unions a veto over all new construction?"

Source: Editorial, "Target: Wal-Mart," Wall Street Journal, October 21, 1999.


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