A year after the notoriously anti-union Wal-Mart agreed to unionize all its stores in China, McDonalds announced that it will allow employees in its 750 Chinese stores to form unions.
There are 60 million workers in the "land of the free," thousands who are employed by McDonalds and Wal-Mart, who would love to have the same right to unionize and engage in collective bargaining.
They are denied these rights by employer coercion and weak US labor laws. According to a survey of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election campaigns in 1998 and 1999 by Cornell University scholar Kate Bronfenbrenner, private-sector employers illegally fire employees for union activity in at least 25 percent of all efforts to join a union.
The All-China Federation of Trade Unions says its goal by the end of this year is to have unions active in 70 percent of the foreign-invested companies operating here. Yet in the United States the percentage of private sectors workers in unions has fallen to 7.4%. No wonder wages are stagnating and inequality is growing!
If Wal-Mart and McDonalds can extend the basic democratic right to organize to workers in China, is it too much to ask that they do the same for their employees at home?