NLRB unlikely to act on Wal-Mart pickets by Thanksgiving

Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:37pm EST
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By Brad Dorfman

(Reuters) - The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is unlikely to make any decision before Thursday's Thanksgiving Holiday on Wal-Mart Stores Inc's (WMT.N: Quote) push to stop protests and rallies outside its stores, the U.S. labor board said on Tuesday.

The delay deals a blow to Wal-Mart's attempt to stop workers and their supporters from staging major protests at Walmart discount stores on "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving that is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.

Separately on Tuesday, OUR Walmart, the organization that has been staging the protests, filed its own charge with the NLRB, saying Wal-Mart was illegally attempting to deter workers from participating in strikes against the world's largest retailer on Friday.

Last week, Wal-Mart, which has faced months of protests and rallies outside its stores, filed an unfair labor practice complaint last week against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), asking the NLRB to halt what the retailer says are unlawful attempts to disrupt its business. Wal-Mart argued the job actions are backed by the UFCW.

In a statement on Tuesday, the NLRB said it was continuing to investigate Wal-Mart's complaint.

"The legal issues - including questions about what constitutes picketing and whether the activity was aimed at gaining recognition for the union - are complex," it said.

The field office considering the case expects to complete its investigation on Wednesday and send its findings to the NLRB Division of Advice in Washington for further analysis.

"Under these circumstances, the Office of General Counsel does not expect to make a decision before Thursday on whether or not to seek an injunction to stop the activity," the statement said.   Continued...

Walmart employees and supporters rally in support of striking workers in front of a store in Pico Rivera, California, November 20, 2012. REUTERS/Bret Hartman