National Labor Relations Board General Counsel agrees with UFCW’s MCAW campaign that Walmart managers illegally retaliated against Walmart workers
(Washington, DC) – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Making Change at Walmart campaign (MCAW), the national campaign to change Walmart into a more responsible employer, released the following statement regarding a new complaint issued by the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) general counsel. The NLRB’s complaint alleges that Walmart engaged in multiple unfair labor practices, such as not permitting a worker to have a coworker accompany him or her into a disciplinary “open door” meeting.
Randy Parraz, campaign director for MCAW, released the following statement:
“Walmart workers have every right to ask for a better life and to speak out against unfair treatment. Sadly, Walmart chooses to ignore these democratic rights, and the rights of its workers to change Walmart for the better.
“As this complaint shows, the NLRB’S general counsel agrees. This complaint reinforces the UFCW’s long-standing fight to improve the lives of Walmart workers and their families. Now more than ever, Walmart must change. The days of unlawful retaliation and intimidation are coming to an end.
“The American people will not tolerate these tactics. Every Walmart worker, from one coast of the country to the other, must never be afraid of striking, showing support for unions, or asking to have a coworker present at a disciplinary meeting.
“The law is on the workers’ side, and we at the UFCW and MCAW are, too. Make no mistake, unless Walmart truly changes, our fight to improve the lives of these great workers will only grow in the coming months and years.”
The NLRB complaint also found that Walmart unlawfully maintains a policy that “treats absences for participation in protected strikes as unexcused absences.” This policy, according to the NLRB complaint, resulted in disciplinary action toward, or the firing of, more than 20 different Walmart workers.
The NLRB’s complaint lists instances of Walmart stores and managers illegally retaliating against workers who went on strike or otherwise took action. Workers and stores in Arizona, California, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Florida are named. The complaint also alleges more individualized violations by Walmart:
- surveilling workers (Para. 8),
- threatening a worker if he or she went on strike (Para. 11),
- firing workers for petitioning Walmart about sick leave (Paras. 13 and 14),
- retaliating against a worker by giving more rigorous work (Para. 22),
- telling workers they don’t have the right to protest outside their store (Para. 24),
- prohibiting employees from wearing labor-related insignia (Paras. 25 and 27c),
- denying workers off-duty access to their store (Para. 27a),
- threatening to call the police on workers who engage in NLRA-protected activity (Para 27b)
Previously this year, an NLRB administrative law judge sided with the UFCW in a ruling that found that strikes by Walmart workers were lawful, that Walmart unlawfully retaliated against workers who participated in strikes in 2013, and that Walmart must reinstate and give back-pay to the workers who were fired.