Our Walmart Files Over 30 New Counts of Unfair Labor Practices Against Walmart For Attempts to Silence Associates
Despite widespread attempts to silence associates and community allies, workers’ calls for a change of course at Walmart continue
WASHINGTON - Today OUR Walmart filed over 30 new counts of unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), alleging widespread and egregious attempts by Walmart to silence workers who have been calling for a change of course at the company. The charges include counts of retaliation against associates in six states—Colorado, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington State. The filings allege among other charges that Walmart unlawfully intimidated and disciplined workers who have spoken out, surveilled workers and organizers, and terminated workers in response to their involvement in protected activity.
One of the most serious charges involves Carlton Smith, a 17-year employee at Walmart in Paramount, CA, who began speaking out when he noticed the store taking a turn for the worse. Employees were struggling with low wages, inadequate hours, and lack of healthcare, while the store was untidy and checkout lines were longer. Carlton went on strike on Black Friday in response to unfair labor practices by the company and recently led a delegation at his store to ask management to address workers’ concerns. On May 8, Walmart terminated him on the pretext that his performance was lacking—even though he had recently been named Associate of the Month.
“Walmart can try to silence us, but it won’t work,” said Smith. “I’m taking my case to the NLRB to make sure there’s justice for me—and for all of the associates who are taking a stand for a better Walmart. We love our jobs and want what’s best for the company. Instead of retaliating against us, Walmart should pay us enough to support our families and give us enough hours to keep shelves stocked and customers happy.”
Vanessa Ferriera, a cake decorator who worked at Walmart for eight years in St. Cloud, FL, was also fired for belonging to OUR Walmart and speaking up for pay and benefits that can support a family. Like Carlton Smith, Ferriera decided to go out on strike around Black Friday in response to the retaliation she and her coworkers were facing from Walmart. Walmart responded by calling the police on Ferriera and her family for ‘trespassing”—and terminated her earlier this month when she continued to voice her concerns.
Though the charges filed yesterday and today indicate that Walmart has ramped up its crackdown on associates who speak out, calls for change at the company have only grown louder in recent months. With mounting concern over the company’s retaliation against and attempts to silence associates who speak out about staffing practices in its U.S. stores and safety at supplier factories overseas, OUR Walmart members and community supporters recently announced plans to take their concerns directly to shareholders and executives at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on June 7.