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Leaked Docs Expose Walmart's Guides to Stomp Out Worker Mobilization
Retail giant also accused of illegally retaliating against workers who took part in protests
Leaked internal documents reveal Walmart's attempts to stop workers from mobilizing for fair wages and decent workplace conditions.
The documents are two PowerPoint Presentations from the retail giant directed at employees and were published at OccupyWallSt.org on Wednesday.
The first PowerPoint is a takedown of OUR Walmart, which is a group of associates of Walmart working for workplace dignity and fairness. Walmart's presentation on OUR Walmart says that the group just collects money from associates ($5 per month) and that its goal is not to help workers. Rather, Walmart claims, the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) takes and spends the dues in a way that harms Walmart and its associates.
UFCW and OUR Walmart have stated that they "have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees," and that their goal is to help Walmart employees achieve labor rights.
Another presentation which appears to be aimed at managers says that Walmart is a target for unionization not because of its poverty wages and attempts to intimidate employees but because of its high number of workers, because that would bring mean more union dues.
The PowerPoint reminds managers of their "Duty of Loyalty," which means they must indicate they support Walmart's position and must "report union activity to the Labor Relations Hotline immediately."
It offers a list of stock "opinions" to provide to workers when they question managers about unionization:
"For a Walmart associate, I think unions are a waste of money. You can speak for yourself.
"In my opinion, unions just want to hurt Walmart and make it harder to run our business."
"I don't think we need a union at this Walmart or any other Walmart. I think the Open Door is a great way to deal with concerns."
Yet a "Declaration of Respect" previously issued by OurWalmart states: "Associates who have tried to utilize Walmart’s Open Door have found that their issues are not resolved and confidentiality is not respected."
In addition, the presentation offers "Early Warning Signs" an associate might be considering unionization, such as "speaking negatively about wages and benefits" or "asking for a witness to be present."
Also on Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accused Walmart of violating workers' rights in 13 states when it retaliated against workers by surveilling, threatening, disciplining or terminating employees for engaging in legally protected strikes or protests.
"Walmart workers like me are calling for better jobs for all Americans," Colby Harris, a fired worker from Lancaster, Texas, said in a statement. "It’s not right that so many of us are struggling to get by on less than $25,000 a year while the Waltons have more wealth than 42% of American families combined. Today the federal government confirmed that Walmart is not above the law, will be held accountable, and I have rights."