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PICKET: Wal-Mart faces walk-outs months after being pressured to cut ties with free-market group

← return to Water Cooler sent e-mails to all to its national list asking them to go to their local Wal-Marts on Black Friday and support the employees’ strike against the mega-retailer’s management, report’s Matt Boyle of the Daily Caller:

“Instead of listening to and learning from its workers, Wal-Mart has sought to silence us and retaliate against those who dare to speak up,” said in its email to supporters. “Warehouse workers who work for Wal-Mart contractors have also experienced retaliation for speaking out. Now, Wal-Mart workers have had enough.”

Black Friday is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.

“On Black Friday, and throughout the Holiday Season, we’re standing up for an end to the retaliation against workers who speak out for what’s right for our families, our communities, and our country,” Soros’ group continued. “Will you show your support?”

Wal-Mart expanded its Black Friday shopping hours this year to avoid the trampling deaths that have occurred in the past when doors of its stores would open the day after Thanksgiving.

The retailer took legal action against the union move by filing an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, reports Fox News

  The company filed a complaint on Friday against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, claiming the labor union — one of the nation’s largest — has unlawfully disrupted business by staging protests at Wal-Mart’s stores and warehouses around the country over the past six months.

The retail giant, which has roughly 1.3 million U.S. workers, is asking the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for an injunction against the rallies and pickets — even flash mobs — that have sprung up at stores nationwide, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“We are taking this action now because we cannot allow the UFCW to continue to intentionally seek to create an environment that could directly and adversely impact our customers and associates,” Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said in a statement obtained by Reuters. “If they do, they will be held accountable.”

NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland said federal officials will decide quickly whether the complaint has merit and noted that, by statute, the agency must make a charge of illegal picketing a priority before all other cases.

The agency, she said, just decided two main issues: whether workers are picketing and if so, whether the picketing intended to unionize workers.

Wal-Mart has been under increased pressure for years by union lobbyists to allow their workers to organize. In 2009 the threat of card check legislation, caused Citigroup to downgrade Wal-Mart’s stock. According to a March 2009 Reuters piece: 

Citigroup downgraded Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) to “hold” from “buy” saying the proposed card check legislation would increase laborcosts and could be a significant drag to earnings for the world’s largest retailer.

“We believe that WMT would be the primary target if EFCA/card check were to be passed,” analyst Deborah Weinswig wrote in a note to clients.

If theunions are successful, the company would have to concede higher wages formore seasoned employees, increase employee benefits significantly, and would experience diminished workforce flexibility, the analyst said.

She cut her price target on the stock to $48 from $53.

The legislation will be introduced on Tuesday in the U.S. Congress and if passed, it will make it easier for workers to unionize.

Known as “card check” or Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the legislation would let employees form a union if a majority of them in a workplace sign authorization cards.

Additionally, Barack Obama’s former Green Jobs czar Van Jones put the squeeze on Wal-Mart earlier this year. his group left-wing organization, Color of Change. Wal-Mart, a former corporate donor of the Washington, D.C. based free-marker organization ALEC, was pressured by swarms of left-wing activists to pull the retailer’s support of the group back in May for ALEC’s support of voter ID initiatives and second amendment issues.


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About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

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