January 31, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled on Jan. 21 that Walmart had illegally fired 16 workers who skipped days at work to protest at a company stockholders meeting in Arkansas in June 2013.
Saying that it was a violation of federal labor law to discipline or discharge workers “because they were absent from work while on strike,” Administrative Law Judge Geoffrey Carter ordered Walmart to offer the 16 their jobs back and give them back pay and benefits. The protests were part of the “Ride for Respect,” a group of mini-strikes coordinated by OUR Walmart to coincide with the trip to Arkansas. Walmart, which argued that the protests were “intermittent work stoppages” and not legal strikes, indicated it would appeal the ruling. Jessica Levin of Making Change at Walmart, a worker-center group that, like OUR Walmart was, is backed by the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union called the ruling a “huge victory” for “Walmart workers everywhere.” Read more