The National Labor Relations Board, an independent federal agency tasked with policing bad behavior by employers, is targeting Wal-Mart Stores Inc. over the retail behemoth’s alleged crackdown on its protesting workers.
The complaint, the largest ever against Walmart, refers to charges made in November 2012 during the Black Friday actions by associates speaking out for respect on the job, regular hours and a living wage of $25,000 a year. The complaint alleges Walmart illegally fired and disciplined nearly 70 workers in 34 stores in 14 states for rallying over workplace conditions.
The rallies spread to 100 cities. Nineteen employees were discharged from the company, allegedly as a reprimand for their involvement in the rallies, according to the NLRB.
Wal-Mart is accused of warning its employees of punishment in two news broadcasts televised nationally as well as in statements to Texas and California store employees.
The agency, echoing its November findings, also said that the retailer preemptively threatened, surveilled or lashed out at employees before expected labor activities in California, Florida, Missouri and Texas.
The case is set to go before an administrative law judge on an undetermined hearing date. Wal-Mart has until Jan. 28 to respond.
Making Change at Walmart reported in a press release:
If Walmart is found liable, workers could be awarded back pay, reinstatement and the reversal of disciplinary actions through the decision; and Walmart could be required to inform and educate all employees of their legally protected rights. While historic, the complaint alone is not enough to stop Walmart from violating the law. Since the start of the year, Walmart has continued to retaliate against workers who speak out for better jobs.
In other news, the Internet group Anonymous leaked a set of Walmart PowerPoints (bottom photos) for managers that included ways to discourage workers from joining a union and how to identify “early warning signs.”
Kory Lundberg, a Walmart spokesman, confirmed the documents are Walmart’s and said they’ve been around for a while.
The PowerPoints also detailed legal ways an employer could discourage workers from organizing (click photo’s for caption).
When I came in for orientation at Walmart, our instructor told us that we would be watching a video on “protecting our signature.” I thought it would be something regarding identity theft. Rather, the whole video was anti-union propaganda. This was the first thing they showed us. Before any job training, company policy, or the like, we were told how evil unions were.