Walmart workers add protection of workers’ actions to their Black Friday wish list
In time for the unofficial start of holiday shopping 2013, the NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel authorized complaints against Walmart on charges that the big-box chain violated the NLRA during the 2012 Black Friday protests. Last year, hundreds of Walmart workers across the country walked off the job to join the demonstrations organized by OUR Walmart to protest low wages and poor and unfair working conditions. Walmart workers then filed unfair labor practice charges, alleging that Walmart violated their NLRA rights.
Specifically, the General Counsel found merit in the allegations that Walmart unlawfully threatened its employees in California and Texas for making statements to its employees and in national televised news broadcasts that “there could be consequences” if employees engaged in protected activity. The General Counsel also found merit in allegations that Walmart violated its employees’ NLRA rights in a number of states by having “unlawfully threatened, disciplined and/or terminated employees for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests . . . . [and] in anticipation of or in response to employees’ other protected concerted activities.” However, the General Counsel declined to authorize complaints over allegations that Walmart officials ordered non-employee protestors off its premises and for retaliating against workers engaged in protected activity by changing their working schedules and unfairly applying company policies.
The General Counsel will issue a complaint against Walmart if the workers and Walmart are unable to settle the cases. If Walmart is found to have violated the NLRA, the NLRB will likely order Walmart to reinstate and provide back-pay to the affected workers and inform its workers of their rights under the NLRA.
As retail workers across the country prepare for the rush of Black Friday shopping, the Office of the General Counsel has sent the clear message that workers have the protected right to join together and fight for increases in wages and better working conditions.
By Anthony Tucci | November 25, 2013