US accuses Walmart of illegally firing striking employees

After failing to reach an agreement that would avoid litigation, the federal labor board issued a complaint against Walmart on Wednesday, formally accusing the world’s largest retailer of breaking labor law during Black Friday strikes by its store workers.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is responsible for enforcing labor laws that apply to businesses as well as union organizations, accused Walmart of illegally threatening and punishing workers who expressed interest in participating in the post-Thanksgiving strikes.

These allegations come on the same week that Occupy Wall Street released internal corporate documents revealing how Walmart allegedly works to keep unions out of its stores, including the selective enforcement of company policy and purportedly illegal actions like coercive interviews.

Workers in several states filed complaints with the board after the strikes, and the board’s counsel eventually “found merit” in many of the accusations while dismissing others. The workers are backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers union and its non-union affiliate, OUR Walmart, which have coordinated the walkouts and blasted the retailer for its treatment of employees.

Brooke Buchanan, a Walmart spokeswoman, said Wednesday that the filing of the charge was just a procedural step and that the company looked forward to telling its side of the story.

“Walmart now has the opportunity to share the facts in these specific cases with an administrative law judge,” she said. “We’ve been in continued conversations with the NLRB on this matter since it was announced in November, and we will continue to be.”

Dominic Ware is a former Walmart employee named in the complaint. He told the Huffington Post he was fired after joining in multiple California demonstrations last spring. Ware said he was fired in July, and has since praised the NRLB’s decision to stand up for people who had similar experiences to his own.
Read more