| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Nov 18 The U.S. National Labor
Relations Board on Monday said it has authorized legal action
against Wal-Mart Stores Inc for allegedly retaliating
against workers who participated in strikes against the company
over low pay.
Groups of Walmart workers went on strike nationwide on Nov.
22, 2012, to protest the retailer's wages and worker benefits.
The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, is typically
the busiest shopping day of the year. The workers also went on
strike in May and June before the company's annual shareholder
The company retaliated against employees who joined those
strikes by firing them, threatening to fire them or disciplining
them, the NLRB said in a statement on Monday. The labor board
also said that a Walmart spokesman made comments on television
threatening workers who planned to join the November protests.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said the company
disagrees with the board's action.
"We believe this is just a procedural step and we will
pursue our options to defend the company because we believe our
actions were legal and justified," she said. "The fact is we
provide good jobs and unparalleled opportunities for our
NO UNIONIZED LABOR
The NLRB is the U.S. agency that enforces the nation's labor
laws. It oversees union elections, polices unfair labor practice
claims and is charged with enforcing the U.S. National Labor
Relations Act, which allows employees to work together to
improve their workplace conditions.
The NLRB's general counsel's office would bring any
complaint against the retailer if one results. Last month a
divided Senate confirmed a former union lawyer to the general
counsel's position, essentially the agency's top prosecutor.
The protests were orchestrated by a coalition of union and
workers' rights groups, including the United Food and Commercial
Workers International Union and OUR Walmart, which have pushed
for better wages and benefits at the company.
Walmart has no unionized labor in the United States.
"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 of the pro-worker
group Jobs for Justice said in a statement.
The NLRB said on Monday that it will issue a complaint
against the retailing giant if it cannot reach a settlement with
"We anticipate the charges will be filed within a week or
two if a settlement can't be arranged," an NLRB spokesman told
If no settlement is reached and a complaint is filed,
Walmart and the board would likely go before an administrative
law judge for a trial proceeding.