Walmart prevails in union ordeal

Organized labor was dealt a setback in its attacks on Walmart on Thursday when the National Labor Relations Board sided with the retailer in a dispute involving the United Food and Commercial Workers.

The UFCW reached a settlement with Walmart stemming from demonstrations the union organized at various Walmart stores on Black Friday. The protests received considerable media attention at the time as the union sought to persuade Walmart employees to walk off the job on the busiest day of the year.

As part of the settlement the UFCW agreed that it would not picket or cause to be picketed or engage in confrontational conduct that is the functional equivalent of picketing in order to force or require Walmart to recognize and bargain with organized labor.

"Today the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the UFCW reached a settlement agreement that will bring the union’s unlawful tactics and disruptions towards Walmart, our associates and our customers to an end," said David Tovar, Walmart’s VP of communications. "We appreciate the thorough efforts of the NLRB in its investigation. Many of the union’s demonstrations and pickets used before Black Friday were illegal. As part of this agreement, the UFCW says in its letter to the board that it has no intent in ‘forcing or requiring Walmart to recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of its employees.’"

The settlement does mean the end of union attacks on Walmart though. Rather, the agreement indicates the union and a group it supports called OUR Walmart will stop picketing and confrontational conduct for a period of 60 days at the company’s stores and other facilities.