The unions have got their walled-city approach wrong. Here’s the UFCW, which has been losing membership at a steady pace, turning down a historic opportunity. You can’t organize stores that don’t exist, Stu. Supermarkets have been pulling out of the city, not moving in, given the high costs and the competition from retail banks for the store space. And Wal-Mart has kicked the UFCW’s ass all over the country — there’s not a single union Wal-Mart store anywhere. Whatsa matter, Stu, you don’t got game for those hicks from Arkansas?
Those are the taunting words from TIME business writer Bill Saporito, who mocked UFCW leaders’ celebration of Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott’s comments that the discount retailer is less than enthused about trying to expand into New York City. As Saporito sees it, the UFCW’s Stuart Applebaum is all wrong to try to keep the store out of the city, where current supermarkets offer patrons little variety and high prices.
Saporito’s challenge: “The unions should be welcoming Wal-Mart and then getting busy. Don’t gloat. Organize.”