NEW YORK, March 12 Wal-Mart Stores Inc's
(WMT.N) treasurer said on Thursday that he is "confident"
Congress will defeat proposed legislation that would make it
easier for employees to form a union.
On Tuesday, the Employee Free Choice Act was introduced in
both houses of Congress. The bill, also referred to as card
check legislation, would let employees form a union if a
majority of them in a workplace sign authorization cards.
That would change the present practice in which workers
usually vote in elections on unionizing, although the bill
would leave elections as an option for employees to choose.
Earlier this week, Citigroup downgraded Wal-Mart shares to
"hold" from "buy," saying the proposed card check legislation
would increase labor costs and could be a significant drag to
earnings for the world's largest retailer.
Speaking at the Bank of America Securities-Merrill Lynch
consumer conference, which was broadcast over the Internet,
Wal-Mart Treasurer Charles Holley said the retailer is "very
opposed to the bill" and it is "very anti-competitive."
"We're confident that Congress will get it right, they'll
figure this thing out, and this bill will be defeated," he
Holley also said that Wal-Mart, which has been gaining
market share amid the U.S. recession, intends to remain the low
price leader as shoppers across the board seek out what
Wal-Mart calls its "Every day low prices," or EDLP.
"The customers not only need the EDLP, they really are
starting to really rely on it on all levels," he said.
"If you look at the consumers that you consider a little
higher income, those maybe making over $65,000 versus those
making under $65,000, you would see that we're gaining market
share equally in both at the same rate. It's not split," he
said. "I think everybody now is really focused on saving
Wal-Mart shares rose 2.3 percent to $48.56 in recent
(Reporting by Nicole Maestri, editing by Dave Zimmerman)