Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NLRB Files Charge Against Walmart Over Black Friday Protest

Wal-MartIt's almost Thanksgiving, so that means more issues over protests at Walmart and other stores over working conditions during Black Friday sales.  This time, the NLRB's General Counsel has announced that it has finished its investigation of charges against Walmart for its treatment of employees involved in the protests last year.  According to the NLRB:

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 protesters 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.

This is obviously still early int he process, and it's not as if Walmart will settle, so there's a long way to go on these complaints.  But it could be an interesting case to watch, particularly as a high-profile example of nonunion employees being protected by the NLRA.

-JH

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/laborprof_blog/2013/11/nlrb-files-charge-against-walmart-over-black-friday-protest.html

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