Cross posted at Wake-Up Blog
The following letter was sent from The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union to the National Labor Relations Board yesterday.
To read the AP article discussing the charges leveled in this letter and the accompanying Unfair Labor Practice Charge that accompanied this letter, click here.
Arthur F. Rosenfeld, General Counsel
National Labor Relations Board
1099 14th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20570
Dear Mr. Rosenfeld:
Enclosed is an Unfair Labor Practice Charge the UFCW is filing against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., today with Region 28 of the NLRB.
As you can see, the charge complains that Wal-Mart, acting through officers, employees and agents, including those at the highest levels of management, systematically denied workers their democratic right to exercise a choice for union representation. Wal-Mart’s actions seemingly involved the criminal misappropriation of company funds to create an illegal anti-union slush fund. The fund was used to bribe workers for information on other workers who desired a voice in their workplace and then to influence them to abandon their desire to exercise their rights for that voice. The Union first learned of these facts from the attached Wall Street Journal article of April 8, 2005, which describes in detail the illegal scheme. As you undoubtedly know, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas is conducting a criminal investigation of Wal-Mart based on the same facts.
I am writing to urge that the National Labor Relations Board investigate this charge expeditiously and thoroughly. We request that the Board begin by seeking the evidence the U.S. Attorney possesses and by using the NLRB’s subpoena power to obtain all relevant information from Wal-Mart, particularly the documents that are in the possession of Wal-Mart according to former Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Thomas Coughlin and which, according to Coughlin, substantiate the alleged scheme.
The Union suspects that Wal-Mart spread bribes in stores whose workers were actively organizing but abruptly abandoned their activity from 2000 through 2005 in any or all of the following 13 states, including Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, California, South Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan and Colorado. Your Office is aware of almost all of these campaigns because it investigated and litigated — or settled — Unfair Labor Practices Wal-Mart committed in almost every one of these stores.
Wal-Mart’s violations were widespread and extend to the most senior levels of management. Worse they effectively caused workers to forfeit their democratic rights to collectively bargain a better life for themselves and their families. These violations warrant priority handling and processing by the Board, and should compel the Board to seek an equally effective and company-wide remedy.
Wal-Mart’s actions in bribing workers to thwart the efforts of their fellow workers to exercise their rights under the National Labor Relations Act constitute the most serious violations of the Act. Combined with the hundreds of other Unfair Labor Practices your Office has prosecuted Wal-Mart for, these recently uncovered unlawful acts reveal this company for what it is – a company that knows no limits in its campaign to trample on the fundamental rights of employees. It is the UFCW’s expectation and hope that the Board will deal with Wal-Mart accordingly and without interference.
Edward P. Wendel
This is big news. This will lead to a major investigation of Wal-Mart, and though the NLRB in recent years has not done all that I wish they would, they will hopefully come through here with some help from the U.S. Attorney.