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Striking Walmart workers hold signs saying
The United Food and Commercial Workers union won't try to unionize Walmart workers—for now, anyway. In an agreement highlighting the legal limits placed on worker organizing, the union and its allied group OUR Walmart have committed to that and to not picketing for 60 days, as a result of which, in six months the National Labor Relations Board will dismiss an unfair labor practice charge filed by Walmart.

As OUR Walmart ramped up for strikes and protests on Black Friday, Walmart filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB charging that the ongoing protests were representational picketing aimed at winning union recognition. Such picketing is limited to 30 days. Worker activists and spokespeople for OUR Walmart and the UFCW said, though, that the strikes and picketing were in response to Walmart's unfair labor practices and for higher wages rather than aimed at union representation. Steven Greenhouse reports, however, that:

But other OUR Walmart members and union officials said their long-term goal was very much to unionize store workers. Such statements seemed to buttress the company’s claims that the demonstrations were indeed illegally protracted picketing that aimed to win union recognition.
That's got to be a very, very long-term goal, though. No one thinks Walmart workers are unionizing in the near future. For now, OUR Walmart is seeking to get workers a little more of a voice in the workplace and to address issues like part-time scheduling (which Walmart recently said it would be improving), and the divide between those short- and long-term goals are at the center of the current agreement with the NLRB.

For its part, OUR Walmart emphasized the range of unfair labor practice charges Walmart has faced and often settled or been penalized for, and asserted that the current agreement "does not affect or limit OUR Walmart members’ and supporter’s ability to otherwise protest, demonstrate against or strike because of Walmart’s unfair practices and poor record on labor rights and standards."

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 08:54 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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