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The NLRB files a complaint against Wal-Mart following protests 

Michigan workers may want to take note of a formal complaint filed by the federal government against Wal-Mart that stems from a series of strikes and protests that have occurred. The complaint refers in part to a 2012 appearance by a Wal-Mart spokesman on CBS during which it was stated that worker would face consequences if they went forward with strikes or protests ahead of the shopping day known as Black Friday.

The National Labor Relations Board has asserted in the complaint that the nation's largest retailer illegally threatened, disciplined or fired some of those that participated. Sixty employees in 14 states have been identified by the NLRB as having their federal rights violated. The filing of a formal complaint only came about after failed attempts on the part of the NLRB's general counsel to negotiate a settlement with the big box retailer starting in November. Wal-Mart, through its spokesmen, continues to insist that all of its activities were justifiable and legal.

Wal-Mart faces a Jan. 28 deadline to respond to the formal complaint. An administrative law judge will then hear the case to determine possible liability. If a decision is rendered against Wal-Mart, it could be ordered to give the workers back pay and to provide reinstatement if they were illegally terminated. It could also be required to reverse any disciplinary action. The company does retain the right to negotiate a settlement with the federal government as the case goes forward.

The Wal-Mart protests were originally organized by OUR Walmart, a union-backed employee rights group that has been active for a good number of years. A spokesperson for Jobs With Justice says that this is one of the more wide-ranging federal complaints regarding employee rights that Wal-Mart has faced.

Source: AOL, "Walmart Responds To Government Unfair Labor Charges", January 16, 2014

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