NLRB Files Complaint Against Walmart For Alleged Retaliations Against Workers

(Twitter user @changewalmart)

(Twitter user @changewalmart)

Back in November, the General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board said he had investigated allegations that Walmart had violated the rights of some employees who protested for higher wages and better working conditions. Today, the NLRB says it has actually issued a complaint against the nation’s largest retailer, possibly setting the stage for a hearing later this year.

The General Counsel had initially held back on issuing complaints against Walmart in the hopes that this grace period would result in a settlement. Alas, the NLRB says these talks have not been successful and so it issued the consolidated complaint alleging that more than 60 Walmart supervisors and one corporate officers violated federal law by taking illegal retaliatory actions against protesting employees.

According to the NLRB complaint, more than 60 Walmart workers were negatively impacted — included 19 people who allegedly lost their jobs for participating in protests and other activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

The Office of the General Counsel alleges that Walmart violated the Act when:

•During two national television news broadcasts and in statements to employees at Walmart stores in California and Texas, Walmart unlawfully threatened employees with reprisal if they engaged in strikes and protests.

•At stores in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington,

•Walmart unlawfully threatened, disciplined, and/or terminated employees for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests.

•At stores in California, Florida, Missouri and Texas, Walmart unlawfully threatened, surveilled, disciplined, and/or terminated employees in anticipation of or in response to employees’ other protected concerted activities.

The retail now has until Jan. 28 to respond to the complaint.

“Walmart thinks it can scare us with attacks to keep us from having a real conversation about the poverty wages we’re paid,” said a former Walmart worker from Placerville, CA, who is named in the NLRB complaint. “But too much is at stake — the strength of our economy and the security of our families — to stay silent about why Walmart needs to improve jobs. Now the federal government is confirming what we already know: we have the right to speak out, and Walmart fired me and my coworkers illegally. With a new CEO taking over in a few weeks, we hope that Walmart will take a new direction in listening to associates and the country in the growing calls to improve jobs.”

UPDATE: A rep for Walmart provided the following statement to Consumerist on the NLRB action:

“This was the next procedural step in the process. Walmart believes we acted respectfully and most importantly lawfully. The merits of the case have not been considered, so we look forward to the opportunity to shed some light on the facts of the case.”

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