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Walmart Defends Their Labor Rights

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When businesses have employees go on strike, they are typically expected to not be punished for attending the strike, whether they are part of a union or not. But recently during some short strikes, Walmart managed disciplined their workers for attending the strikes, according to the Wall Street Journal. When the National Labor Relations Board found out about it, they brought up actions against Walmart Stores, Inc. for doing so. Now Walmart is fighting back, claiming they were well within their labor rights to do so.

Walmart’s Defense

Following the complaint brought against Walmart Stores by the labor board, Walmart claimed there was no way to tell the difference between an employee going on strike, and one that was simply absent. They saw no way to distinguish between the two, using the same discipline for employees going on strike as they would if they decided not to show up for work when scheduled. This was part of the way they defended their business interests in relation to strikes. They claimed employees had already been warned about being away from work, regardless of the reason.

The Laws

The reason the labor board brought up the complaint in the first place is because employees in general have a right to go on strike. This is true whether or not they belong to a union. This act is part of a National Labor Relations Act that was created back in 1935 to protect employees who go on strike. It was intended to protect strikes and the reasons behind them. The strikes at Walmart and other companies were given by advocacy groups that had very short social media campaigns and short-term walkout protests.

Protection Under Federal Labor Laws

One of the main discrepancies is deciding whether or not strikes should have protection under federal labor laws, which would prevent the employers from disciplining their employees who leave work to attend the strikes. There is some talk about the laws only protecting employees during certain types of strikes, conditions claimed, and exactly what the details of the strikes entail, such as their intentions. According to Marshall Babson, an employment lawyer in New York for Seyfarth Shaw LLP, there is no black-letter rule about how often employees can go on and be protected during a strike.

Walmart’s Action

There have been many different strikes in the past few years, where some employees attended multiple ones. One employee, Colby Harris, attended five strikes, leaving his produce job each time. He was recently fired by Walmart for attending the strikes. Walmart believes their actions are hurting the company, not helping to achieve what they hope, so they feel they have a right to defend these types of actions.

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Walmart Defends Their Labor Rights by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes