Last week, Walmart workers notched another win with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). This time, the victory came in the form of a complaint filed by the NLRB’s general counsel on April 28, which alleges that Walmart engaged in multiple unfair labor practices, including not permitting a worker to have a coworker accompany him or her into a disciplinary “open door” meeting.
The NLRB complaint also found that Walmart unlawfully maintains a policy that “treats absences for participation in protected strikes as unexcused absences.” This policy, according to the NLRB complaint, resulted in disciplinary action toward or the firing of more than 20 different Walmart workers from across the country.
This most recent complaint was also significant because it could, as Reuters put it, “potentially pave the way for a decision expanding the rights of nonunion workers.” Workers who belong to unions are entitled to have representatives present if they are being investigated or disciplined (sometimes known as “Weingarten rights”), and the UFCW and Making Change at Walmart campaign believe that Walmart workers should also always be granted this right.
Previously this year, an NLRB administrative law judge sided with the UFCW in a ruling that found that strikes by Walmart workers were lawful, that Walmart unlawfully retaliated against workers who participated in strikes in 2013, and that Walmart must reinstate and give back-pay to the workers who were fired.