Wal-Mart files complaint against union in attempt to prevent Black Friday protests

Retailer asks NLRB to issue injunction against rallies and pickets

The busiest shopping day of the year is just days away, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is starting to panic.

Last month, workers from 28 Wal-Mart locations nationwide went on strike to protest the company’s efforts to “silence and retaliate against workers for speaking out for improvements on the job,” according to a United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) press release. Since then, Wal-Mart workers from more than 1,000 stories across the country have vowed to walk off the job on Black Friday to protest purportedly tough working conditions and low wages. Wal-Mart also is facing a proposed class action in which temporary workers claim the retailer and two staffing agencies have been violating federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws since 2009.

But Wal-Mart has decided to fight back. Last Thursday, the retailer filed a complaint again the UFCW in which it asks the National Labor Relations Board to issue an injunction that would prevent Wal-Mart workers from rallying and picketing. The workers who plan to protest are members of OUR Walmart, or Organization United for Respect at Walmart, a group that started in 2010 with financial support from the UFCW.

Wal-Mart claims OUR Walmart is seeking union recognition and, by law, can protest for only 30 days before collecting signatures for a vote, which it hasn’t done. “We cannot allow the UFCW to continue to intentionally seek to create an environment that could directly and adversely impact our customers and associates,” David Tovar, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said in a letter to the UFCW. Meanwhile, OUR Walmart says its planned protests aren’t supporting unionization but are instead drawing attention to poor working conditions at Wal-Mart.

Read CNN and the Wall Street Journal for more information.

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Ashley Post

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