Big labor rights movement win for California-area Walmart employees. Walmart employees at stores in Richmond and Placerville, California recently had a big win against their retail giant employer. In fact, in December an administrative law judge found in favor of California-area Walmart employees who claimed that they were unfairly disciplined for attempting to organize employees in a strike and other collective bargaining activities. The National Labor Relations Board Administrative law judge of Washington, D.C. ordered Walmart to stop pressuring employees in order to prevent work stoppages, because it is believed that Walmart used intimidation tactics to encourage employees to return from strikes. Walmart was also ordered by the judge to change its dress code for its California employees who were being restricted from wearing pro workers’ rights shirts.
Labor Rights Movement
The administrative judge’s decision in favor of the California Walmart employees is a victory for the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), an employee-based campaign advocating enhanced health benefits and better pay for Walmart’s employees at the companies 4,000+ U.S. stores. Though OUR Walmart is not an official labor union that represents workers in collective bargaining issues, the organization does receive substantial support and advice from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. On Black Friday of this year, OUR Walmart led employee protests at over 1,000 Walmart stores, while calling for more full-time jobs opportunities and also for a $14 base wage paid to employees.
The OUR Walmart Labor Movement
The NLRB ruling was supported by the federal law that prohibits employer retaliation against workers who support unions, and also prohibits employers from making intimidating statements intended to discourage workers from supporting worker unions. The NLRB judge ruled that a California Walmart manager had unlawfully threatened to close a Walmart store if employees decided to join the (Organized United for Respect at Walmart) or “OUR” Walmart in its demands for higher wages, and also that Walmart had illegally disciplined employees for exercising their legal right to go on strike. It was discovered that one specific Walmart manager had used illegal intimidation tactics against workers by stating that “If it were up to me, I’d shoot the union.” Furthermore, it was also found that it was an unlawful statement for the Walmart managers to tell its employees that their co-workers who had returned from a one-day strike would soon be looking for new jobs.
In addition to claims that Walmart prevented employees from exercising their right to both strike and organize, the suit also focused on dress code restrictions enforced at Walmart’s California stores that prohibited employees from wearing most logos excluding clothing manufacturers and also Walmart logos. This restriction served to prevent workers from wearing clothing that expressed the OUR Walmart cause and message. The administrative judge’s ruling, which focused only on the two specific California Walmart stores, is the first NLRB judge opinion that was submitted since OUR Walmart began operations in 2010. Complaints about labor practices at Walmarts across the U.S. have also been consolidated into one nationwide complaint that is currently ongoing.
If you need legal advice and representation regarding workers’ collective bargaining rights, or any other employment law legal assistance, you should contact our employment and labor law attorneys at Beck Law P.C. in California today.