Dozens of Walmart workers who the National Labor Relations Board alleges were fired or disciplined last year for protesting workplace conditions and wages are a step closer to justice after the NLRB began its case against the retail giant Monday.
The hearing in Oakland, Calif., is the first of five that will be held in different cities across the country. More than 60 Walmart supervisors and one corporate officer in 13 states are named in the NLRB complaint.
If Walmart is found liable, workers could be awarded back pay, reinstatement and the reversal of disciplinary actions through the decision. Walmart also could be required to inform and educate all employees about their legally protected rights.
The National Labor Relations Act guarantees the right of private-sector employees to act together to try to improve their wages and working conditions with or without a union. The NLRB alleges that Walmart violated the NLRA when:
- 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.
- At stores in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington, Walmart unlawfully threatened, disciplined and/or terminated employees for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests.
- At stores in California, Florida and Texas, Walmart unlawfully threatened, surveilled, disciplined and/or terminated employees in anticipation of or in response to employees’ other protected concerted activities.
The workers’ group Making Change at Walmart says:
It’s time for Walmart to stop punishing workers for simply speaking out for change. These national hearings could result in justice for at least one group of Walmart workers and serve as a reminder that even Walmart isn’t above national law.