FEDERAL LABOR BOARD: Walmart Violated Workers’ Rights Nationwide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 18, 2013

FEDERAL LABOR BOARD: Walmart Violated Workers’ Rights Nationwide
National Labor Relations Board Decides to Prosecute Nationwide Violations at Country’s Largest Employer
Workers, Supporters Vow to Increase their Calls for Walmart to End Illegal Retaliation, Create Better Jobs

WASHINGTON — The National Labor Relations Board General Counsel is issuing a decision today to prosecute Walmart for its widespread violations of its workers’ rights. The decision will provide additional protection for Walmart’s 1.3 million employees when they are speaking out for better jobs at the country’s largest employer.

The Board will prosecute Walmart’s illegal firings and disciplinary actions involving more than 117 workers, including those who went on strike last June, according to the decision.

The decision addresses threats by managers and the company’s national spokesperson for discouraging workers from striking and for taking illegal disciplinary actions against workers who were on legally protected strikes. 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.

“The Board’s decision confirms what Walmart workers have long known: the company is illegally trying to silence employees who speak out for better jobs,” said Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs With Justice and American Rights at Work. “Americans believe that we have the responsibility – and the right – to speak out against corporate abuses of workers, and this proves we’re finally being heard, and making kinks in Walmart’s armor. Customers, clergy and community members from across the country are standing with Walmart workers bravely calling for better jobs and a stronger economy for all of us.”

Today’s decision addresses charges filed one year ago in advance of Black Friday 2012, when Walmart managers escalated their efforts to threaten and discourage workers from going on legally protected strikes. David Tovar, spokesperson for the company, even went so far as to threaten workers on national television, saying “there would be consequences” for workers who did not come in for scheduled shifts on Black Friday.

Additionally, the decision covers the illegal firings and disciplinary actions that occurred after 100 striking Walmart workers took their concerns to the company’s June shareholder meeting in Bentonville. Support from investors, Walmart workers and the general public continued to grow after tens of thousands of shareholders heard from OUR Walmart members at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

When these workers returned to work, Walmart systematically fired and disciplined them despite their legally recognized, protected absences. This included disciplinary action against at least 43 workers and the firing of at least another 23 worker-leaders.

“Working at the largest employer in the country should mean making a decent living. Those days are long gone,” said Tiffany Beroid, a Walmart worker from Laurel, MD. “Walmart continues to show that it’s afraid to have real conversations about creating better jobs, but would rather scare us into silence. But change at Walmart is too important to our economy and for our families for us to stop speaking out.”

Prior to the extended strike in June, American Rights at Work/Jobs with Justice released a white paper documenting Walmart’s extensive and systematic efforts to silence associates. At that time, there were more than 150 incidents in stores across the country, with few signs that Walmart would soon stop targeting those who speak out and act collectively.

In other labor charges against Walmart, workers have been winning. In California alone, the National Labor Relations Board recently decided to prosecute Walmart for 11 violations of federal labor law from some threats made around Black Friday last year.

In Kentucky, one settlement was reached between Walmart and Aaron Lawson in which Walmart fired Lawson after he distributed flyers and spoke out against the company’s attempts to silence those who called for better wages and consistent hours. As part of the settlement, Walmart agreed to rehire Lawson and provide full back wages for the time that he was out of work.

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  • floridanativee

    With the new ObamaCare 30 hour full time mandate, this will be repeated millions of time over the US at most low skilled jobsites.

    • MEProudLIBERAL

      What does Obamacare have to do the National Labor Relations Board’s decision to prosecute Walmart’s illegal firings and disciplinary actions?

      • floridanativee

        If you would try to keep up, they were complaining about the low hours. ObamaCare means that millions of workers (not just Wal-Mart) will be limited to under 30 hours due to the mandate. When you take off work and stand in from of your employer screaming at their customers, you can expect to get fired. If the employees want to form a union, just form one. The Obama NLRB has made it very easy. This union has spent tens of millions of dollars of their members dues money trying to unionize Wal-Mart with zero success. This new back door trick won’t work any better. Nothing illegal about firing an employee for breaking the rules. Happens every day.

      • MEProudLIBERAL

        “This union has spent tens of millions of dollars of their members dues money trying to unionize Wal-Mart with zero success. ”

        Walmart is going to be prosecuted, sounds like a BIG success to me!

      • floridanativee

        What makes you think they are going to be prosecuted? The handpick union organizer Obama NLRB is going to be investigating them. You can only be prosecuted for breaking a law. These employees can not go on strike just by declaring that they are doing so. Very particular rules for the legal strikes and having a real union is one of them. Surely you don’t think this is a legitimate use of their members dues?

    • RealTexan

      Just because a job requires low skilled workers, doesn’t mean the people working those jobs don’t deserve the dignity of a living wage and fair treatment. Also the overwhelming majority of Walmart workers were receiving less than 30 hours a week long before Obamacare was even conceived. So the idea that Walmart would have been increasing employees hours if it wasn’t for Obamacare is absurd.

      • floridanativee

        Over 60% of Wal-Mart’s workers are full time. Most of the others are part time because of their desires; the elderly, working mothers, that sort of thing,. If a worker comes in and demonstrates great work ethic and works hard and smart, they can move right on up. 80% of their management came from the ranks of hourly workers. Malcontents in any business will not prosper. According to ObamaCare any worker with over 30 hours will have to be provided healthcare which is about $7,000 or so a year depending on the area and other factors. The people who are not ever going to be capable of being full time employees will be kept under this threshold. That is the way it is going to work at Walk-Mart, all retail stores, and most fast food places. ObamaCare is going to have the affect of reducing low skilled workers. These places were keeping employees below 40 hours. The idiots who devised ObamaCare thought they would get them healthcare by dropping the threshold to 30 hours. That just dropped the hours worked by that amount. This is what happens when you have a lot of non business people thinking without any experience. I knew this would happen the minute I saw it. Millions of low skilled workers are being and will be hurt by it. Wal-Mart pays above average for the retail trade. It is beyond me why you liberals want the poor to shop at places with higher prices and lower choices. Just selfish I guess.

      • my2cents

        One thing you stated that I agree with is that Obamacare will hurt the working poor (low skilled workers) the most. They will be the ones without health insurance provided by their employer’s. They will be the ones with their hours cut and their income reduced. They are the ones who won’t be able to afford the fines for not having healthcare insurance.
        They will be the ones who will see their coworkers and organized labor as the only people in alignment with their own interests. The recent up swing in low wage worker organizing movements is not a fluke. Organized labor sees the changing environment of the working poor and they are positioning themselves for the conditions of the near future. The working poor are living on the edge as it is. When they are pushed past it many workers will be moved to real action and Organized Labor will have in place a foundation for them to join and expand. Much like compound interest the growth will seem small in the beginning, but because it is exponential over time the difference will become very apparent.

      • floridanativee

        Sure

  • tompnoonan1961

    It is time for Walmart join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union for all Walmart Cashier Workers and for all Walmart Produce Workers and for all Walmart Deli Department Workers and for all Walmart Bakery Department Workers and for all Walmart Clothing Department Workers and for all Walmart Pharmacy Workers. It is time for Walmart join the Teamster Union for all Walmart Truck Drivers Workers and all Sam’s Club Truck Driver Workers and for all Sam’s Club Forklift Driver@Stock Person Workers and for all Walmart Stock Person Workers and for all Walmart Gardening Department Workers and for all Walmart Hardware Department Workers and for all Walmart Customer Services Desk Workers and for all Courtesy Association Workers and for all Maintenance Workers and for all Sam’s Club Meat Cutter@Meat Wrapper Workers and for all Sam’s Club Cashier Workers and for all Sam’s Club Produce Workers and for all Sam’s Club Sam Café Workers and for all Sam’s Club Bakery Department Workers and for all Sam’s Membership Desk Workers and for all Sam’s Club Cart Attendance Workers for all Sam’s Club Maintenance Workers and for all Sam’s Club Pharmacy Workers. It is time for Walmart join Communication of America Workers for all Walmart Electronic Workers and all Sam Club Electronic Workers. It is time for Walmart join the United Auto Workers Union for all Walmart Tire@Lube Express Workers and for all Sam’s Club Tire@Car Battery Installment Workers right of away and right now please by make Walmart give all Walmart Workers a Living Wage With Affordable Health Care and all Sam’s Club Workers a Living Wage with Affordable Healthcare right of away and right now please without close down all the Walmart Store and without close down all the Sam’s Wholesale Club and without silence all the Walmart Workers and without Silence all the Sam’s Club Workers and without arrest all the Walmart Workers for going on Strike against Walmart

    Thank You Very Much

    From Tom P Noonan

    • jerry

      Screw that nonsense

  • MEProudLIBERAL

    It’s about time!

  • Teresa Abdul

    I’m an former employee who felt like they were personally pushing me out the door. They were constantly doing audits on me I finally ask a CSM they said it was random. How can it be random when they were within a months time do about 3-4 on the same person.

  • Judgeforyourself37

    The difference between slavery and working for corporate America is that if someone was a slave they were continually beaten, raped, denied food, health care, decent housing, and constantly treated as if they were less than human. Hey, now that I think about it, there is a parallel, except that so far, no one has been beaten or raped. At least I have not heard that they were, but one never knows. The corporate elite holds all the “cards,” just as the slave holder did. The “overseer” or middle management person also held/holds some aces, too. The worker is told, “Be glad you have a job, and if you don’t like it, go elsewhere.” A slave did not have even that option.
    I rather shudder at the slave parallel, as slavery was such a horrible blot on our history. However, treating employees as chattel is, also, a blot on our nation.

  • JoesephWellington

    I stopped shopping at Walmart when I became aware of how they treat their employees, and their unscrupulous business/labor practices. To those who work there I hope you stand together and make a better future for yourselves and your coworkers/friends.