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The United Food and Commercial Workers and OUR Walmart may have agreed not to picket Walmart for 60 days, but that doesn't mean workers are going to lie down and take it if Walmart mistreats them. Which, of course, Walmart is doing, both as a matter of routine and especially in the aftermath of the no-picket agreement. Josh Eidelson reports that:
At noon [Thursday], half a dozen workers in Laurel, Maryland, walked off the job in protest of alleged retaliation by Walmart management. They were joined by Lancaster, Texas, Walmart employee Colby Harris, a fellow activist with the labor group OUR Walmart. After delivering a letter to their store manager, and protesting with supporters outside the Laurel Walmart, the workers filed new charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging illegal intimidation by the retail giant. [...]

Workers allege that Walmart exploited that agreement to unleash a new round of intimidation against workers. They say that Walmart managers held mandatory meetings in which managers read from a memo telling workers that the strikes had been illegal, and that OUR Walmart was being dissolved. “They said that anybody who associates themselves with OUR Walmart, and the leaders, and the organization as a whole, could face disciplinary actions,” said Harris. He said he had not been pulled into such a meeting, but had heard about them from co-workers in states including Florida, Illinois, Kentucky and Maryland.

As long as the Maryland workers who walked out don't do anything resembling a picket line (no walking in circles in front of the store, for instance) and aren't looking for union recognition, they should be within the framework of the union agreement with the National Labor Relations Board. And they're definitely serving notice to Walmart that it's not open season.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:57 PM PST.

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

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