After years spent fruitlessly attempting to organize Wal-Mart, unions and other liberal activist groups have taken a new tack: a public campaign to force the Bentonville behemoth to become more socially responsible. In 2005, Andrew Stern, the president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), created Wal-Mart Watch, with an annual budget of $5 million, devoted exclusively to making Wal-Mart “a better employer, neighbor, and corporate citizen.”At almost the exact same time, a parallel group called Wake Up Wal-Mart launched, with much the same goal.

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