Every Wal-Mart manager is warned by the company not to “Threaten, Interrogate Promise, Spy” on their workers. Wal-Mart calls this their TIPS on unionization. But union officials say that Wal-Mart routinely uses threats and intimidation to scare workers away from voting in a union. Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board ordered a hearing into complaints that Wal-Mart intimidated and bullied workers at a store in Loveland, Colorado, scaring workers into voting against union representation. Workers at the Loveland Tire & Lube Express section of Wal-Mart voted 17-1 on Februrary 25 to reject the union. But the United Food and Commercial Workers has asked the NLRB to void the results. The UFCW says no union member was allowed to observe the election and that Wal-Mart added employees to the unit to dilute the strength of the union supporters. Wal-Mart warns its managers to watch out for “salts” — union plants in the workforce — but in this case, the union is charging that Wal-Mart “salted” its own workforce with anti-union plants. The NLRB has scheduled a hearing for March 25th, according to the Associated Press. “After a preliminary investigation I have concluded that the (union’s) objections raise substantial and material issues of fact, including credibility resolutions, which can best be resolved at a hearing,” the NLRB said.
Similar charges are currently pending in several unionization votes in Canada. At least two stores in Quebec have voted recently to unionize (Wal-Mart closed down one), and one store in Ontario rejected the union. In all votes so far, the union has charged that Wal-Mart engaged in unfair labor practices. For earlier stores, search Newsflash by “unions.”