Walmart whines to NLRB

I was watching network news (ABC) last night, and they were talking about how the Black Friday sales were going to start Thursday night, and the reporter was gushing about all the great deals. Not one single word about the Walmart strike. After all, that’s another world to those people!

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — As Wal-Mart workers prepare to stage a walkout on Black Friday, the world’s largest store is fighting back.

Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) has filed a complaint with a federal agency accusing one of the largest labor unions in the country of unlawfully organizing picket lines, in-store “flash mobs” and other demonstrations in the past six months.

In its complaint Thursday, Wal-Mart said the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and its subsidiary known as OURWalmart is trying to force the store into collective bargaining even though it is not the official union for Wal-Mart’s employees. The UFCW represents over a million meat packers and food industry workers.

The complaint comes just days before Wal-Mart workers’ plan to stage nationwide walkouts on Black Friday, arguably the biggest holiday shopping day for any U.S. store. Union-backed groups OUR Walmart and Making Change at Wal-Mart, along with a watchdog group Corporate Action Network are calling on the country’s largest employer to end what they call retaliation against employees who speak out for better pay, fair schedules and affordable health care.

The planned walkouts build on an October strike that started at a Wal-Mart in Los Angeles and spread to stores in 12 other cities. More than 100 workers joined in the October actions.

Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar pointed out in a statement that the number of workers participating in the walkout is a “very small minority” of its 1.3 million workforce. Tovar said that Black Friday is like the “Superbowl” for retailers and that Wal-Mart is ready.

“If [the store employees] are scheduled to work, we expect them to show up and do their job. If they don’t, depending on the circumstances, there could be consequences,” said Tovar.

In a letter to UFCW’s general council sent on Friday, Wal-Mart said the workers’ ongoing actions violate the National Labor Relations Act, which prohibits picketing for any period over 30 days without filing a representation petition. The retailer said the actions have disrupted business.

6 Responses to Walmart whines to NLRB

  1. lless November 19, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Rigged game. The NLRB is stacked. Conventional unions can’t crack a corporate pariah like Walmart. Obama promised card check organizing and then promptly killed it. This kind of spontaneous employee uprising needs a new ally not subject to court orders. OWS are you listening? “Boycott Walmart” “Paychecks not Foodstamps” Millions of bumpers and millions of front yards and a few sidewalks. Take 1 percent gross from the one percent and they fold.

  2. susie November 19, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    OWS is already involved. They’re running the strikers food fund, but probably doing more.

  3. jawbone November 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    Off the top of my head suggestion:

    Type up a brief letter about why you will not be shopping at WalMart due to their unfair labor practices, unfair hours allotments and scheduling, unfair attempts to keep workers from getting decent and deserved raises, unfair treatment over all of their employees.

    Working for WalMart means living in poverty.

    You might note that it is unfair of WalMart to expect state and federal tax payers to cover their employees’ food and medical needs.

    SIncerely, etc.

    Will be more powerful if signed, with address.

    Any other ideas?

    I’m going to drop mine off at two local WalMarts, just to be more ecologically correct about using gas to get there.

    I think I’ll add that making people work on one of the few holidays of the year which used to be a true day of rest (except for those cooking and cleaning up), family togetherness, and reflextion/relaxation is beyond the pale.

  4. jawbone November 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    Address to store manager.

  5. Ron November 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    I hope there’s a picket line I can go join.

  6. Martigan November 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Many Walmart workers qualify for food stamps, but Sam Walton’s five heirs are on the Top 20 list of most wealthy people on the planet. Why are US taxpayers subsidizing these uber-wealthy individuals?

    There are other large retailers [Costco] who pay a living wage and provide benefits to employees, AND they have a successful business model. Vote with your feet (and your pocketbooks).

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