In an unprecedented power play, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled the United Food and Commercial Workers bosses paying nonunion people to protest at Wal-Mart last year, was not illegal. Sean Higgins has the story in the Washington Examiner.
OUR Walmart, which presents itself as a group of disaffected Walmart workers, is identified as a
subsidiary of UFCW in the memorandum. Along with another UFCW-backed group, Making Change at Walmart, UFCW has been orchestrating a series of public relations attacks against the retailer.
It is not clear how widespread the practice of offering the $50 gift cards was, although the memorandum says the card was advertised on the main OUR Walmart website.
Peter Schaumber, a former NLRB chairman who now works with pro-business groups, agreed the practice would not be illegal, “but really, what it says is that those people are out there protesting because they are getting paid.”
UFCW’s members mostly work for Walmart’s rivals. The union has tried for years to organize Walmart’s 1.3 million-member U.S. workforce with no success.
The groups are planning another wave of anti-Walmart strikes this week, highlighting the low pay of some employees. They claim they will have events at as many as 1,500 store locations across the country.
What the protests seem to be largely lacking, though, are actual Walmart employees. At events across the country last year, local media struggled to find anyone on the picket lines who also worked at the store. Some events had none at all.
A second NLRB advice memorandum released on Nov. 15 highlighted this problem for the protesters. It found that Walmart management’s forcing picketers to leave at two different Nov. 22, 2012, protests in Texas was not illegal because one group of protesters had only one Walmart employee. The other protest had none at all. Only when the protests involve employees does the law allow them on company property.