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Wal-Mart wins union battle
Workers at Colorado store voted against unionizing at the world's biggest retailer.
February 25, 2005: 2:59 PM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Employees at the Loveland, Colo., Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Express voted against unionizing Friday, according to a statement by the world's largest retailer.

The department's 20 employees won approval from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in January to hold the election, which would have made the workers at the Loveland store the first union workers at the world's biggest retailer.

But, in a secret-ballot election conducted by the NLRB, 18 workers voted against representation by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

The vote comes little more than two weeks after Wal-Mart decided to close a store in Quebec where workers were close to reaching a union contract. Wal-Mart, citing losses at the store and saying it could not come to an agreement with the union there, said it would shut down the store.

"The UFCW has tried to organize our associates for years," Terry Srsen, vice president of labor relations for Wal-Mart, said in the statement. "However, many of our associates are former union members -- they know better than anyone that the only guarantee a union can make is that it will cost the members money -- and that is why they continue to reject the UFCW."

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union was not immediately available for comment.

In a similar election earlier this month, workers at a Wal-Mart tire and auto maintenance shop in New Castle, Pa. also voted against union representation, 17-0, according to a statement from the Arkansas-based retailer.

Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people worldwide and has recently been on a public relations campaign to improve its image, including treatment of its workers.

The retailer took a hit again Friday when it was ordered to pay $7.5 million in damages to a disabled former employee in a class-action lawsuit. The former worker claimed he was unfairly reassigned to garbage duty even though he was hired to work in the pharmacy department.

Wal-Mart (down $0.24 to $51.22, Research) stock edged lower Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.  Top of page

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