Walmart managers in California had illegally intimidated employees from going on strike and unlawfully punished those who did, a National Labor Relations Board judge ruled on Wednesday. One Walmart manager apparently told employees, “If it were up to me, I’d shoot the union,” according to the New York Times.
The board’s administrative law judge, Geoffrey Carter, ordered Walmart to stop unlawfully intimidating workers in Richmond, California, after it was revealed managers threatened to close a store if many of its workers joined OUR Walmart, a union-backed group of Walmart employees demanding higher wages. The managers also illegally told employees that those returning from a one-day strike with the group would be without a job.
Raymond Bravo, a former Walmart employee in Richmond, California, told the New York Times that he and five other co-workers were illegally disciplined for engaging in a one-day strike in 2012. “This [ruling] reinforces the fact that we were doing nothing wrong,” Bravo told the New York Times. “It shows that what we’re doing is right, and the government is taking our side.”
Federal law bars employers from retaliating against employees for backing a union and from making threatening comments that discourage workers from supporting a union, according to the National Labor Relations Board.
The group, which is not a union itself but is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers union, had filed a complaint with the labor board after it was discovered that workers at Walmart stores in Placerville and Richmond, California, had been unlawfully intimated by their managers.
Just last month, Walmart executives boasted how no judge had found the company guilty of unlawful actions against OUR Walmart, the New York Times reported.
Separately, the National Labor Relations Board had charged Walmart in January for allegedly violating the rights of more than 60 employees in 13 states for participating in activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act. Nineteen of those workers were allegedly fired from their jobs for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests, according to a press release from the board.
Labor unions have grappled with the retail corporation for some time because Walmart fails to hire union members or raise wages. OUR Walmart claims many employees are paid less than $10 per hour and are only scheduled part-time, making it difficult to support a family.