business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is saying that it has found evidence that Walmart has "unlawfully threatened employees" considering participation in anti-Walmart protests that have been taking place around the country.

According to the story, "The board’s general counsel was investigating accusations made against Walmart stemming from protest activities planned last year for Black Friday, among others.

"The scope of the accusations was wide, spanning activities in more than a dozen states, and according to the United Food and Commercial Workers union, it covered actions taken against about 100 Walmart employees."

Walmart said the NLRB's finding was just procedural, and denied any wrongdoing.

The NLRB has not officially filed a complaint, but rather has just authorized such a filing. Experts say this gives the two sides room to negotiate a settlement.''A union spokeswoman said that at least 43 workers were disciplined and at least 23 were fired.

The Times writes that "whether employees are unionized or not, federal law, under the National Labor Relations Act, protects certain activities, like protesting or organizing for better wages or working conditions." Union leaders say that "at least 43 workers were disciplined and at least 23 were fired" by Walmart.

The "threat" took place last year, in advance of planned Black Friday protests, when Walmart spokesman David Tovar told CBS News, “If associates are scheduled to work on Black Friday, we expect them to show up and to do their job, and if they don’t, depending on the circumstances, there could be consequences.”
KC's View:
The irony, of course, is that David Tovar just got a promotion at Walmart.

Listen, I have real problems with some of how Walmart treats its employees. But I also know that I I had a job and just didn't show up, there probably would be consequences.

It may be illegal to say out loud that there are consequences for not showing up for work … but it doesn't seem all that wrong to suggest that if you don't live up to your responsibilities, bad things can happen.