Several labor organizations are asking the Federal Election Commission to investigate Wal-Mart's alleged illegal political activism following reports the mega-retailer has been not-so-subtly urging employees to vote against Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Wal-Mart made "prohibited corporate expenditures by expressly advocating against Senator Obama's election" to hourly employees, the groups charged in a letter to the FEC (.pdf) delivered Thursday.
American Rights at Work, the AFL-CIO, Change to Win and WakeUpWalmart.com were signers to the letter requesting an investigation, and they concurrently delivered a petition signed by 60,000 people.
"For years, Wal-Mart has been intimidating and harassing its workers who want to form unions. Now they’ve adapted their unionbusting tactics to influence our federal election system," Mary Beth Maxwell, executive director of American Rights at Work, said in a press release Thursday. "Wal-Mart seems to be willing to break federal election law in order to stop their employees and all of America’s workers from having a fair shot at the American Dream."
Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Wal-Mart executives were meeting with store managers and supervisors to warn them about the probability that pro-union proposals in Congress would become law were Obama to win the presidency.
The program walked a fine legal line because the company executives were advocating political views to hourly employees, which is prohibited. Companies are free to advocate for specific candidates only to executives, shareholders and salaried employees.
The labor union's letter to the FEC is reproduced below.