NLRB Takes on Walmart

Published November 19th, 2013 -  - 11.19.131


The NLRB’s enforcement arm issued a press release yesterday announcing that it plans to take action against Walmart for alleged unfair labor practices by the company against employees who protested or planned to protest the company last Thanksgiving. According to the statement, NLRB investigators found merit in claims that Walmart unlawfully threatened, disciplined, or terminated employees at stores in fourteen states in anticipation of protests or in response to legally protected strikes around the Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday, the major retail shopping day that follows. Investigators additionally found merit in complaints that Walmart unlawfully threatened employees during two national television news broadcasts and in statements to employees at stores on Thanksgiving. The NLRB’s general counsel found no merit, however, in two other claims that Walmart violated the National Labor Relations Act by telling large groups of non-employee protesters to leave Walmart’s property or by unfairly applying company policies to protestors.

The complaints were authorized by the NLRB’s Office of the General Counsel, which is formally independent from the presidentially appointed Board and which acts in a role similar to a district attorney in investigating alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act and in prosecuting complaints before administrative law judges and, on appeal, the Board itself. The full statement is after the jump.

NLRB Office of the General Counsel Authorizes Complaints against Walmart, Also Finds No Merit to Other Charges
11/18/2013
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NLRB Office of the General Counsel Authorizes Complaints against Walmart, Also Finds No Merit to Other Charges

The National Labor Relations Board Office of the General Counsel has investigated charges alleging that Walmart violated the rights of its employees as a result of activities surrounding employee protests. The Office of the General Counsel found merit in some of the charges and no merit in others. The Office of the General Counsel has authorized complaints on alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act. If the parties cannot reach settlements in these cases, complaints will issue.

The Office of the General Counsel found merit to alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act against Walmart, such as the following:

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 on November 22, 2012.

Walmart stores in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington unlawfully threatened, disciplined, and/or terminated employees for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests.

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

The Office of the General Counsel found no merit, absent appeal, to alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act against Walmart, such as the following:

Walmart stores in Illinois and Texas did not interfere with their employees’ right to strike by telling large groups of non-employee protestors to move from Walmart’s property to public property, pursuant to a lawful Solicitation and Distribution policy, where the groups contained only a small number of employees who either did not seek to stay on Walmart’s property or were permitted to remain without non-employee protesters.

Walmart stores in California and Washington did not unlawfully change work schedules, disparately apply their policies, or otherwise coerce employees in retaliation for their exercise of statutory rights.

The National Labor Relations Act guarantees the right of private sector employees to act together to try to improve their wages and working conditions with or without a union.

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