This week in Oakland, Calif., the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) began its prosecution of Walmart for the illegal dismissals and punishment of more than 60 workers for going on strike last year to protest Walmart’s illegal retaliation against their coworkers for speaking out for better work conditions and wages. This trial comes after the board’s general counsel found merit in the workers’ case and issued a formal complaint stating that Walmart violated federal labor law by targeting these workers.
The NLRB hearing in in Oakland is the first of five hearings that will be held in differen cities across the country. Depending on the results of these hearings, Walmart workers could be returned to work with back pay and have disciplinary actions removed.
Walmart, already notorious for its questionable treatment of workers throughout the supply chain, escalated its attack on workers’ rights last summer. Following the June 2013 “Ride for Respect” cross-country trip made by Walmart workers from around the nation to the company’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart disciplined more than 60 strikers – 19 of whom were illegally fired.
Among those targeted were working moms, like Barbara Collins. Barbara did nothing wrong—she just wanted to stand up for her coworkers’ right to speak out and bring up issues that many working mothers face.
The Retail Justice Alliance calls on Walmart to stop punishing workers for simply speaking out for positive change in the workplace. These national hearings could result in justice for at least one group of Walmart workers, and serve as a reminder that even Walmart isn’t above national law.