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NLRB on Walmart: It’s Complicated.

10:17 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

I really, really wish I were not so consistently correct about just how little Barack Obama and his corporatist cronies care about the working class.

Walmart workers protest in October. More worker walkouts and protests are expected on Black Friday.

Alas, as I foreshadowed in the comments here yesterday, it’s looking more today as if the Obama-appointed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is trying to give itself room to grant an injunction to Walmart, stopping (theoretically, at least) what any scholar of the American Labor Movement (yes, boys and girls, there actually was one, once upon a time…) - which is exactly what members of the NLRB claim to be – can instantly recognize as the completely legal (and quite necessary) job actions planned for Friday (you know, the BLACK one) at Wals across the country.

ABC News is now reporting that the NLRB is calling a decision on Walmart’s request “complex”:

“The legal issues — including questions about what constitutes picketing and whether the activity was aimed at gaining recognition for the union — are complex,” the labor board said. “Also, there are many distinct factual circumstances at stores across the country to consider.”

While the rose-colored-glasses, in-the-tank-for-Barack set will doubtless try to put a positive spin on this clearly negative turn of events, I’ve seen this M.O. too often in the past four years. Barack makes a statement favoring something (say, a public health insurance option), even as (or worse, after) he is engineering a result he considers much more favorable to “the economy.” (Read: the rich.)

Walmart’s request should have already been tossed based on the principles of the NLRB’s founding: To investigate and settle charges of unfair labor practice.

Few decisions in life are starkly black and white, but this is one of those decisions. The fact that the NLRB is claiming otherwise does not bode well for  Walmart’s clearly victimized workforce.

Anthony Noel is a facilitator of the New Progressive Alliance.

Photo by Neon Tommy under a Creative Commons Share-Alike License.

Walmart to NLRB: “Whaaaaaaaa!”

11:31 am in Uncategorized by Anthony Noel

We’re about to find out exactly how little Barack Obama cares about working men and women.

Walmart workers at an October protest

We already know the answer is “not much,” but a job action planned by employees of the world’s largest retailer on the biggest shopping day of the year – Black Friday, just three days away - may bring into sharp relief just how far down the river this president is willing to sell the working class.

Walmart – that destroyer of small-town Main Streets, receiver of corporate welfare, and beneficiary of third-world slave-labor - has gone crying to a government watchdog which, if it holds true to the principles of its founding, should not merely toss the Walton clan out on its ear but laugh heartily as it does so.

Though you, dear reader, may not yet have heard about it, the WalMucketeyMucks have gotten wind of plans by their “associates” (hah!) across the country to walk off the job this Friday in protest of crappy wages, non-existent benefits, intimidation, and management stifling of attempts to organize themselves into a what Walmart should already be treating them as: A force that can force the planet-raping retailer to its knees.

Walmart workers would likely have unionized many months ago if this White House – at the urging of the Clintonite now-mayor of Chicago - hadn’t backed down on EFCA (that’s said with tongue firmly in cheek, of course - since this White House never really got its back up over it).

And now Walmart - the world’s best-known purveyor of goods produced in offshore sweatshops, and considered by many to have gone into groceries so its American workers could “spend” the food stamps those workers still require to make ends meet in Walmart stores - is asking the National Labor Relations Board, a body charged in 1935 with enabling the union movement and ending unfair labor practices, to protect it? Really?!

Let’s see the silver-tounged leader of the free world talk his way around this one.

Photo by Neon Tommy under a Creative Commons Share-Alike License on Flickr