business news in context, analysis with attitude

A story aired yesterday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” suggested that the presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) - when she was a working lawyer, first lady of the state of Arkansas and a member of Wal-Mart’s board of directors – “remained silent as the world's largest retailer waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers.”

According to a story posted on ABC’s website, “Wal-Mart's anti-union efforts were headed by one of Clinton's fellow board members, John Tate, a Wal-Mart executive vice president who also served on the board with Clinton for four of her six years.

“Tate was fond of repeating, as he did at a managers meeting in 2004 after his retirement, what he said was his favorite phrase, ‘Labor unions are nothing but blood sucking parasites living off the productive labor of people who work for a living’ … An ABC News analysis of the videotapes of at least four stockholder meetings where Clinton appeared shows she never once rose to defend the role of American labor unions.”

The videotapes do show Clinton being more active in terms of talking about women’s issues and the environment.

This could be a problem for Clinton, since her presidential campaign has been endorsed by more than a dozen unions. ABC notes that Clinton’s campaign website makes no mention of her Wal-Mart tenure, and she now says that she “no longer shares Wal-Mart’s values.” However, she would not agree to be interviewed by ABC about the story.

ABC writes that in an effort to distance herself from Wal-Mart, Clinton’s “Senate campaign returned a $5,000 contribution from a Wal-Mart Political Action Committee, although discovered another $20,000 in contributions from Wal-Mart executives and lobbyists.”

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