If you are going to be one of San Antonio’s Black Friday shoppers next week you may want to think twice about heading to Walmart–that is, unless you won’t mind crossing a picket line.
Walmart workers across the country, including here in Texas, are planning a walkout on Black Friday, which is generally considered the biggest shopping day of the year. The workers are reportedly staging the walkout to bring attention to the company’s alleged pattern of retaliating against employees who speak out about the employer’s wrongdoing. Specifically, several union-backed groups say the company retaliates against workers who ask for better pay, fair schedules and affordable health care.
Walmart has denied the accusations, and says only a small number of workers are unsatisfied.
The organizations backing the walkout–OUR Walmart, Making Change at Walmart and Corporate Action Network–say that they expect protests at 1,000 Walmart stores, but they have not said how many workers they expect to participate.
Late today Walmart took action to attempt to halt the walkout by filing an unfair labor practice charge against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, saying that the protests are an unlawful attempt to halt its business. A UCFW representative said that she does not think the request will be granted because the law does not give employers a right to silence its workers.
The size and impact of the scheduled protests remains to be seen, but the discussion about this event should be a reminder of the importance of state and federal anti-retaliation laws. When employees report the illegal, wrongful or discriminatory actions of their employer, they should not be retaliated against in any way. Retaliation often includes firing, demotions or harassment. Workers who have been retaliated against might benefit from talking to an employment law attorney about their rights.
Source: 11alive.com, “Walmart workers plan Black Friday walkout,” Nov. 16, 2012
- Our law firm protects the rights of those who have been retaliated against by an employer. More information about this area of our practice is available on our San Antonio Retaliation in the Workplace page.