Other than worker co-ops, unions represent the only democracy in Canadian workplaces. Why, one wonders, would workers reject democracy? Is a giant corporation such as Walmart just too formidable? Do unions demand too much effort? Were these particular workers philosophically opposed to unions? Did they trust management more than their colleagues? Or did they just not give a damn? One clue may be that out of the 69 who voted in December 2010, only about 10 remain employed at the store.
In any case, perhaps we should not be surprised by the vote. Canadians are not, after all, terribly interested in democracy. Barely 60 per cent bothered to vote in the last federal election. In civic elections, it's often barely 30 per cent. And we persist in using probably the world's most undemocratic voting system at both the provincial and federal levels. So indifference to democracy in a Canadian workplace isn't unexpected.
The United Food and Commercial Workers aren't indifferent however. They have vowed to continue the organizing efforts at Walmart. I wish them, and workplace democracy, all possible luck.