NLRB Undecided About Wal-Mart 'Black Friday' Protests

Wal-Mart workers demanding better pay and benefits vow to mount 1,000 protests online and outside stores up to and including Black Friday.  To work, the approach will require protest leaders to turn out significant numbers of strikers and persuade deal-chasing shoppers to go elsewhere. However, similar protests in recent weeks have had little perceptible impact on the world’s largest retailer.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has not yet decided whether to stop planned Black Friday protests in front of Walmart stores, calling the allegations that a union is conducting illegal picketing “complex.”

Walmart, the largest employer in the country with 4,000 U.S. locations, had requested last Friday that the NLRB issue an injunction against planned protests outside Walmart stores that could take place on Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year. But the NLRB Office of General Counsel said it will likely not be able to issue a decision before Thursday about the protests.

Walmart does not recognize an official workers’ union and alleges that the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union is organizing illegal picketing at its stores.

Labor advocates critical of Walmart say it does not pay workers enough and many part-time workers are unable to work more hours and earn additional income.

On Tuesday evening, the NLRB said it cannot issue a decision yet because the issue is “complex.” Since Monday, the labor board has investigated Walmart’s allegations by speaking to the union, interviewing witnesses and sifting through documents provided by Walmart.

The NLRB said it expects to complete its investigation by Wednesday.

Since October, a group supported by the UFCW, Our Walmart, has threatened to protest against Walmart’s 8 p.m. opening on Thanksgiving Day, and what the group says are unfair labor conditions. The group has said protests could take place at 1,000 locations.

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