Walmart Protests Move Into Thanksgiving, Black Friday

Walmart is pushing to stop protests and rallies outside its store, but the National Labor Relations Board said it is unlikely to make any decision before Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

At the same time, OUR Walmart, the organization that has been staging the protests filed its own charge with the NLRB, saying the retailer was illegally attempting to deter workers from participating in strikes against the world’s largest retailer on Friday.

The immediate issue is whether workers will be able to stage major protests at Walmart discount stores on “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving that is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.

Walmart Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley last week called Black Friday “the Super Bowl” for retail.

OUR Walmart is a coalition of thousands of current and former Walmart workers that wants better wages, benefits and working conditions.

Walmart, which has faced months of protests and rallies outside its stores, filed an unfair labor practice complaint last week against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) asking the National Labor Relations Board to halt what the retailer says are unlawful attempts to disrupt its business.

Walmart argued the job actions are backed by the UFCW.

In a statement on Tuesday, the NLRB said it was continuing to investigate Walmart’s complaint.

“The legal issues – including questions about what constitutes picketing and whether the activity was aimed at gaining recognition for the union – are complex,” the statement said.

The field office considering the case expects to complete is investigation on Wednesday and send its findings to the NLRB Division of Advice in Washington for further analysis.

“Under these circumstances, the Office of General Counsel does not expect to make a decision before Thursday on whether or not to seek an injunction to stop the activity,” the statement said.

It was not clear whether the NLRB would be able to get a hearing before the Appellate Court on Thanksgiving, a federal holiday, if it sought an injunction. Most Walmart stores will be open all night on Thanksgiving into Black Friday.

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