Tags: Walmart | labor | employment | union

Walmart Says Labor Group Gave Us Info They Weren't Allowed To

Monday, 14 Dec 2015 04:28 PM

Walmart has accused labor activists of defying an administrative judge’s order by sharing private documents with Bloomberg Businessweek, which used them in a cover story about how the company combats protests.

In a motion filed on Dec. 9, Walmart alleges the labor group OUR Walmart “intentionally disclosed documents marked and designated confidential” to Businessweek reporter Susan Berfield, despite a judge’s protective order. More than 1,000 pages, including internal memos about Walmart’s preparations for protests on Black Friday in November 2012, were produced in discovery for a case before the National Labor Relations Board, which is considering allegations the retailer illegally fired labor activists. (Walmart denies wrongdoing.) OUR Walmart, which until this summer was closely tied to the United Food and Commercial Workers union, gave the documents to Businessweekfollowing the conclusion of hearings in October.

The cover story revealed that, faced with a wave of union- backed strikes and protests, Walmart hired Lockheed Martin’s intelligence-gathering service, reached out to the FBI, ranked stores by level of risk, and tracked and tallied hints of labor unrest across its U.S. locations. “Unfortunately,” Walmart said in a statement provided for the story, “there are occasions when outside groups attempt to deliberately disrupt our business and on behalf of our customers and associates we take action accordingly.” After the article was published, on Nov. 24, both the UFCW and OUR Walmart called for federal investigations into Walmart’s actions.

Spokespeople for the NLRB and Walmart both declined to discuss the retailer’s Dec. 9 motion, which urges the agency to enter a “cease-and-desist” order and, “absent some exculpatory explanation,” order OUR Walmart to return the copies of its confidential documents and prevent it from “using, referencing, or relying on” them in related cases.

OUR Walmart says it was following the judge’s rules. “We couldn’t imagine that Walmart would be happy about light being shined on these kind of tactics they’re using against their employees,” said the group’s co-director, Dan Schlademan. While some of the documents OUR Walmart provided to Businessweekmay have originally been marked as confidential for the managers who received them, he said, “Nothing that we’ve shared was marked as confidential for the legal case, and therefore we were within our rights to share those documents.”

Schlademan said his group may decide to share even more. “Walmart is trying to bully its way to bar any future documents” from being made public, he said. 

The UFCW, which is also named in Walmart’s motion, took a similar tack. “This motion is without merit,” spokeswoman Jess Levin said in an e-mail, “and we would strongly suggest Walmart focus on its own questionable behavior instead of making baseless charges.”

 

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Walmart has accused labor activists of defying an administrative judge's order by sharing private documents with Bloomberg Businessweek, which used them in a cover story about how the company combats protests.
Walmart, labor, employment, union
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2015-28-14
Monday, 14 Dec 2015 04:28 PM
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