Wal-Mart Watch: Good news:

Facing intense opposition, a large real estate developer has dropped its plans to include a Wal-Mart store in a Queens shopping complex, thwarting Wal-Mart’s plan to open its first store in New York City, city officials and real estate executives said yesterday. The decision by the developer, Vornado Realty Trust, is a blow to Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, and comes after company officials said that New York City was an important new frontier in which Wal-Mart was eager to expand. A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said the company was still exploring other sites in the city, but the possibility that the company would open a 132,000-square-foot store in Queens had immediately stirred a storm of opposition by neighborhood, labor and environmental groups as well as small businesses. Wal-Mart also faced opposition from many City Council members and several members of Congress. Labor unions fought Wal-Mart with a special intensity because they believe its wage levels and benefits are pulling down standards for workers through the United States.

And bad:

Tire shop workers at a Colorado supercenter operated by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Friday voted “No” to union representation, dealing another blow to efforts to unionize employees at the world’s largest retailer. Wal-Mart — which recently shut down a Canadian store that voted in favor of a union — said tire and lube express associates at its Loveland supercenter voted 17-1 to reject representation by the United Food & Commercial Workers Union. The union has been spearheading the Wal-Mart unionization drive for more than a decade, with very little success. The vote at the Loveland tire center coincided with growing criticism that Wal-Mart mistreats its workers, and a UFCW spokesman said the outcome showed just how well Wal-Mart’s fear tactics work. “Wal-Mart did what it does best. It scares people. They are very good at putting the fear of God in their employees,” said Dave Minshall of the UFCW…Another UFCW official said before the results were made public that the balloting had been itself a big victory because the company had resisted previous attempts by the tire workers to vote.


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