The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday (April 20) stating that the 2,200 employees recently laid off at five Wal-Mart Stores were subject of “retaliation for their labor activism.”
Wal-Mart recently announced it would temporarily close 5 of its stores for up to six months as they underwent major plumbing overhauls. Store workers in Tulsa; Midland and Livingston, Texas; Brandon, Fla., and Pico Rivera, Calif. were given only hours notice before they were called to the back of their stores and handed pick slips.
The food and commercial workers union made its filing on behalf of OUR Wal-Mart, a group of Wal-Mart employees that it backs that has pushed for better pay and working conditions.
"This is a new low, even for Wal-Mart," Venanzi Luna, an eight-year Wal-Mart worker and member of OUR Walmart, said in a statement. "Through OUR Wal-Mart, we're going to keep fighting back until the company gives us our jobs back."
Wal-Mart said in a statement that it does not believe there is any basis for this claim.
"As we have said all along, these stores were closed temporarily so we could fix the ongoing plumbing issues and it would be unfortunate if this outside group attempts to slow this process down for our associates and customers," the company said.
The company has said that the workers would be put on paid leave for two months and it would look to transfer some to nearby stores.