Policy: Labor

Union orchestrating Walmart walkout for Thursday

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Jobs,Labor,Walmart

Walmart associates in 15 cities will walk off the job Thursday in the latest in a series of actions against the nonunion retail giant organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers union through the activist group it backs, OUR Walmart.

The group claimed that "thousands" would walk out.

"Walmart workers and their supporters today announced the largest mobilization since Black Friday, set for Thursday, September 5. The announcement comes as Walmart has failed to meet a Labor Day deadline to reinstate illegally fired and disciplined workers, publicly commit to improve jobs and end the company’s aggressive violations of workers’ rights," OUR Walmart said.

According to the news release, walkouts are planned by employees at stores in Baton Rogue, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City, Orlando, Sacramento, Seattle and San Francisco.

Washington, D.C., was included by the group in its announcement but there are currently no Walmart stores located in the nation's capital.

The retailer, the nation's largest single employer with 1.3 million workers, has long been a target of union-backed left-wing activist groups. Since November, Big Labor has been encouraging and publicizing walkouts and other worker actions against the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer.

A planned post-Thanksgiving action largely fizzled due to poor turnout. Many of the protesters at the events were not actually Walmart employees and in some cases were bussed in from outside. But UFCW and other unions have kept at it hoping to build legitimate grassroots support.

Although UFCW would clearly like to unionize Walmart, the current effort is disingenuously being presented as a grassroots effort to get the retailer to adhere to labor rights. Otherwise, Walmart could protest it as an illegal strike and demand the National Labor Relations Board sanction the union.

Hence the following disclaimer at the end of the news release: "UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart (sic) employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart (sic) over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically (sic) commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees."

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