The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Lynsey Kryzwick 646.200.5311, Zoe Bridges-Curry 904.476.8681

Walmart Workers in Maryland &Texas File Unfair Labor Practice Charges

Workers report unlawful threats from management in response to protests and strikes


On Thursday, Walmart workers in Laurel, MD, filed Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) charges against Walmart with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), citing the company's attempts to silence workers who speak out for better jobs. The charges allege that Walmart managers in Maryland, Kentucky, Florida and other states have been unlawfully and incorrectly telling Walmart workers that their actions taken last Black Friday violated the law and that any future attempts to strike would be illegal and punishable. Managers have also warned workers that associating or even talking with members of Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart)--protected activity under federal labor law--could lead to disciplinary actions and/or termination.

In addition to filing charges, workers in Maryland and Texas walked off the job Thursday in protest of Walmart's retaliation against workers, exercising their right to join together with coworkers to speak up about working conditions.

"What I know based on my conversations with other OUR Walmart leaders and other associates in Maryland and other states is that last week Walmart managers started reading a memo to employees stating that their strikes are illegal and if they did not stop taking action against the company they would be punished," said Colby Harris a Dallas, TX, Walmart Associate, OUR Walmart leader, and striker. "Not only are such statements to employees illegal and incorrect but they are threatening and intimidating and no one should have to endure that. I along with other Walmart associates work hard to support our families and support our community, as a worker I should have the right to do my job free from intimidation and threats."

Walmart workers have been speaking out about the company's attempts to silence workers who publically discuss labor rights, and standards at the company. However, rather than listening to the concerns facing 1.4 million Walmart workers, Walmart has attempted to silence them.

Last October, OUR Walmart leaders held the first-ever strikes against the mega-retailer, which culminated in the historic Black Friday protests and strikes at Walmart stores across the country. Since then, support for OUR Walmart, the associate organization calling for Walmart to improve labor rights and standards, has continued to grow.

OUR Walmart filed charges with the NLRB alleging over 80 violations against Walmart for its attempts to silence workers at stores across the country. For example, the NLRB is investigating charges alleging Walmart unlawfully attempted to deter workers from participating in legally protected strikes planned during last year's Black Friday shopping period. This includes threats from Walmart managers and the company's national spokesperson, David Tovar, who went on national television and threatened consequences for workers if they chose to strike.

Making Change at Walmart is a campaign challenging Walmart to help rebuild our economy and strengthen working families. Anchored by the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), we are a coalition of Walmart associates, union members, small business owners, religious leaders, community organizations, women's advocacy groups, multi-ethnic coalitions, elected officials and ordinary citizens who believe that changing Walmart is vital for the future of our country.