NLRB approves complaints on Wal-Mart

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is alleging that Wal-Mart illegally fired and threatened more than 100 workers for their union activities.

On Monday, the labor board authorized complaints for the way the company treated workers who went on strike and took part in protests.

“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,” Sarita Gupta, the executive director of the Jobs with Justice and American Rights at Work coalition, said in a statement.

“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.”

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The board’s general counsel’s office has approved complaints about the alleged violations of the law. If Wal-Mart and workers cannot reach settlements, it will issue formal complaints.

Twice on national television last year, a Wal-Mart official “unlawfully threatened employees with reprisal” for going on strike or engaging in protests on Black Friday, the traditional shopping day after Thanksgiving, the NLRB determined. 

Additionally, stores in 13 states, from California to Florida, illegally threatened, fired or disciplined workers for taking part in strikes and protests, and workers in four states were treated unfairly ahead of expected labor activities.

The NLRB’s general counsel’s office dismissed other complaints against the company and its treatment of workers, including allegations that stores changed workers’ schedules and violated their right to strike by telling some protestors to move off of private property.

A Wal-Mart representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Workers at Wal-Mart, the country’s largest private sector employer, and labor advocates are preparing to hold protests on Black Friday to protest pay practices at the store.

“The fight for better pay, full time work and an end to illegal retaliation at Walmart isn’t just a workers’ issue,” Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO, said in a statement. “It’s a family and women’s issue, an immigrant rights issue, a student issue, an environmental issue and a consumer issue. Above all, it’s an issue of fairness.”