Wal-Mart picketing to be halted after agreement
BY ANNE D'INNOCENZIO Associated Press
Friday, February 01, 2013
2/01/13 at 4:57 AM
Labor groups say they will end their picketing at Wal-Mart stores for at least 60 days as part of a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board.
The agreement, announced by the labor board Thursday, comes after the discounter filed a complaint on Nov. 20 with the board against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. It said that demonstrations at the stores organized by union-backed OUR Walmart threatened to disrupt its business and intimidate customers and other store workers.
OUR Walmart is made up of former and current Wal-Mart workers.
Meanwhile, OUR Walmart filed its own charge with the labor board. It cited attempts by Wal-Mart to deter workers from participating in what the group called legally protected walkouts.
At issue were what constitutes picketing and whether the activity was aimed at gaining recognition for the union. Wal-Mart contended that such demonstrations violated labor laws because it claimed the "picketing" lasted more than 30 days and had the intent of unionizing its members.
Union officials have argued that the walk-outs and demonstrations are to protest what it believes are Wal-Mart's retaliation tactics against workers who publicly speak out about working conditions and wages. The tactics allegedly include scheduling changes and reduction in workers' hours.
The agreement, announced Thursday, will stop picketing and "confrontational conduct" at Wal-Mart facilities for at least 60 days. Nancy Cleeland, a spokeswoman at the NLRB said that it was unnecessary to decide the merits of the labor charge against the UFCW and would set aside pursuing the charge. She said it would dismiss the complaint in six months as long as the union complies with the agreement.
Original Print Headline: Agreement will halt Wal-Mart picketing