Federal agency authorizes prosecution of Walmart on violations of worker rights

Big news yesterday related to Walmart’s ongoing labor unrest in its supply chain and stores: The National Labor Relations Board has found merit in several charges that Walmart violated workers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

Feds tell Walmart: Fix safety and health problems

Walmart’s taking yet another hit on labor issues today, as the U.S. Labor Department announced a corporate-wide settlement agreement between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Walmart that requires the company to fix safety and health problems in nearly 3,000 of its stores. Walmart is also required to improve training related to hazard communications and the use of trash compactors and harsh cleaning chemicals, and will pay a $190,000 penalty.

Labor Strife Continues

The most recent Harris Interactive “Reputation Quotient Survey,” conducted in November, found that Walmart’s brand suffered a drop in reputation in 2012. The alleged bribery in Walmart’s International division is likely to have contributed to the decline, but are labor problems at Walmart—strikes at stores and deaths in its supply chain—to blame, too? According to Infegy’s Social Radar, a social media monitoring and analytics system, the answer is yes. Early this year, Walmart made promises to hire more veterans and buy more American-made goods—two initiatives widely recognized as a clever PR strategy to clean up its sullied image. But Social Radar found that the PR efforts had significantly less resonance on social media than did the reports of hundreds of Walmart associates striking on Black Friday and the deaths of over 100 Bangladeshi workers in a supplier’s factory making Walmart-brand apparel.