| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Oct 27 Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N)
has been "relentlessly non-partisan" in the current U.S.
presidential campaign and stands to benefit no matter which
candidate wins, a top executive said on Monday.
"I actually think ... that there's opportunity with either
party," Leslie Dach, Wal-Mart's executive vice president of
corporate affairs, told the retailer's analyst meeting, which
was broadcast over the Internet.
Wal-Mart has worked over the past few years to burnish its
image after facing criticism from liberal Democrats and labor
unions, who contended the company paid poverty-level wages and
pushed employees onto government aid programs.
Under Dach's leadership, Wal-Mart has tried to portray
itself as a leader committed to tackling tough issues, such as
lowering health care costs and cleaning up the environment.
"Government officials around the world are calling us
because they want to understand what we see in the stores,"
The biggest challenge facing the next U.S. president will
be getting the economy back on track, and Dach noted both
Democrats and Republicans have discussed ways to help the
middle class through tax breaks or another economic stimulus
If approved, Wal-Mart stands to gain from these efforts,
"If middle class, hard-working Americans have more
disposable income ... Wal-Mart will get its fair share."
Dach also said Wal-Mart is "very concerned about what we
call the 'Employee Forced Choice Act'."
He was referring to the Employee Free Choice Act, which
would make it easier for workers to unionize, by signing a card
rather than holding a vote.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, a
co-sponsor of the original bill, has called for passage of the
act. Republican presidential nominee John McCain opposes the
Earlier this year, a story in the Wall Street Journal said
Wal-Mart executives told employees that unionization could
force the retailer to cut jobs as labor costs rise, and that
employees would have to pay hefty union dues and get nothing in
While Wal-Mart said it warned store managers about the
possible consequences of the bill, the retailer, which has kept
its U.S. stores free of unions, stressed it was not telling
employees how to vote.
Dach said Wal-Mart's opposition to the bill is "well known
and clear," and he believes the more attention the bill
receives, the more it will be seen as "negative" to business in
the United States.
Wal-Mart is not alone in its opposition to the bill. Last
week at its analyst meeting, discount retailer Target Corp
(TGT.N) said the bill could be damaging to American business,
and it opposed the bill.