Workers Say Walmart Closed Stores to Retaliate Against Activists
Walmart workers in Pico Rivera, California, are asking the National Labor Relations Board for an injunction against the company's decision to close its store there for six months. Walmart claims that the Pico Rivera store, along with four others in California, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas, is being closed for plumbing repairs. The Pico Rivera workers and the labor group OUR Walmart say it looks awfully suspicious that the closures just happened to hit a store that's been a center of worker organizing, and they're claiming retaliation:
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which backs OUR Walmart, is listed as the filing party on the NLRB complaint, which claims that Wal-Mart targeted the Pico Rivera store because it has been “the center of concerted action by [workers] to improve wages and working conditions for all Walmart [workers] around the country.” The Pico Rivera store was the site of OUR Walmart’s first strike in 2012; workers at that location have participated in strikes and civil disobedience ever since.
Walmart claims 100 or more plumbing problems at each of the stores that have been closed, but rather than getting as much prep work done for the repairs before taking the unusual step of closing stores, the company hasn't yet gotten permits for the repairs. Still, with five stores closed, it will likely be difficult for the Pico Rivera workers to prove that Walmart's action was directed at them.