A union-backed group of Wal-Mart workers, OUR Walmart, said on Tuesday that it had filed a complaint with the National Labour Relations Board, asserting that Wal-Mart was making illegal threats to deter its employees from participating in protests scheduled for Black Friday.
The complaint said that a statement by a Wal-Mart spokesman, David Tovar, on Monday on the CBS Evening News that 'there could be consequences' if employees did not report for work constituted an illegal threat meant to discourage workers from exercising their right to protest.
"We will not be silenced," said Mary Pat Tifft, an OUR Walmart member and a Wal-Mart employee in Kenosha, Wis. "We should expect more than threats to our jobs when we speak out."
Tovar said the company was respectful of "all of our associates" and was always willing to hear employees' concerns.
"There has not been any retaliation against our workers who are simply expressing their views, nor will there be," he said.
OUR Walmart filed papers after Wal-Mart made a labour board complaint last Thursday, asserting that the protests that OUR Walmart is planning round the country would violate a federal law that bars picketing for more than 30 days when a union is seeking recognition.
Wal-Mart maintains that OUR Walmart's rolling protests have continued for more than 30 days and are actually sponsored by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which he-lped found OUR Walmart last year.
The New York Times