According to a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), 50 to 80 union protesters forcibly entered a Walmart in Dearborn, Michigan, chased one employee into a ladies’ room, and “coercively interrogated” her.
Walmart, a non-union retail store, filed the complaint and was able to secure a cease and desist order against the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW), which has until April 14th to respond to the charges.
The complaint focuses on the November 23rd incident where a UFCW Local 876 organizer allegedly entered the Walmart with the other protesters and blocked off the store’s electronics section for 10 to 20 minutes. Moreover, the retail giant alleges that about seven women and one man from the group “entered the women’s restroom inside the … Dearborn store, and coercively interrogated an employee regarding her wages, hours and working conditions.”
A representative of the UFCW did not disagree with the women’s account, but denied that the union directed them to storm the ladies’ room:
These actions were not committed or directed by any UFCW or OUR Walmart representatives. OUR Walmart never instructed anyone to block any part of any Walmart store, interfere with Walmart’s operations or associates’ work or commit actions that violated the NLRA or any other laws. We look forward to our day in court.
These remarks are characteristic of an ongoing conflict between Walmart and UFCW, which represents workers for CVS and Giant. The NLRB is considering sanctioning Walmart for allegedly retaliating against non-profit groups like OUR Walmart, a non-union entity dedicated to raising the minimum wage and working conditions for employees of the retailer and backed by the UFCW.
Some have criticized OUR Walmart for not being representative of most employees and being comprised of union sympathizers.