Elkin Walmart employees did not participate in the national protests on Black Friday.
An employee union-backed group called OUR Walmart protested on Friday across the nation what they say is the “retaliation against workers” by the nation’s largest retail chain.
The employees asked Walmart to end alleged retaliation efforts against those speaking out for better pay, fair schedules and affordable health care.
Walmart spokesman David Tovar said Walmart has a policy that prohibits retaliation of any kind, and investigates every allegation.
Walmart also added that the protestors make up just a handful of its 1.3 million workforce.
In an effort to prevent the group from gaining traction, Walmart filed a complaint last week with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming that the “United Food and Commercial Workers Union and its subsidiary known as OURWalmart unlawfully organized picket lines and other demonstrations in the past six months.”
The retailer said the actions have disrupted business, and that workers’ ongoing actions violate the National Labor Relations Act, which prohibits picketing for any period over 30 days without filing a petition to form a union.
Nancy Cleeland, spokeswoman for the federal agency, said that there are currently about 20 charges filed against Walmart stores by individual employees and OUR Walmart alleging a number of illegal acts. Specific information was not released pending investigation.
In a statement to The Tribune, OUR Walmart confirmed it gets financial backing from the UFCW and others.
In 2011, the same group asked the retailer to pay workers a minimum wage of $13 per hour and to make more full-time jobs available for its part-time employees who want them. It also asked the retailer to provide affordable health care, predictable hours and to recognize freedom of speech and association.
Critics against the staged walkout fired back against OUR Walmart by citing disruption of sales on Black Friday not only hurts Walmart branches, but injures other retail outlets on America’s most profitable shopping day, especially as retailers are cutting back on profits to help move America’s economy again.
“Shoppers want to shop for Christmas and their families, not to decide a political position on if you support a union or not,” said Richard Canton of the National Retail Sales Tax Alliance. “Ultimately, that’s what this is about, not retaliation.”
“It’s not about Black Friday though, said Casey Hoag, UFCW spokesperson in an interview with the paper. “It’s about workers concerns being unaddressed, not only in North Carolina, but throughout our nation.”
If a protest was happening, you couldn’t tell in Elkin. No protesters were on-premise.
Two Elkin police officers were on the scene though, but they stated that their presence was for traffic control and community safety, not a national protest.
The nearest confirmed city where Black Friday activists protested was in Durham, N.C.