Shoppers at Wal-Mart today may be treated to chanting people circling in front of the store and criticizing their labor practices. The likelihood that one of those people is, or even was, an actual employee of Wal-Mart will be slim to none. But that’s cool with the NLRB, even though the protestors will be compensated by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. The NLRB is so cozy with the UFCW that it allowed the union to hold a press conference announcing the NLRB decision before the NLRB’s public announcement.
But wait a minute, you say; didn’t the same group do the same thing last year? And didn’t they pull the same stunt in July? Why does the NLRB allow them a life-time pass on picketing a union target when the law says such practices are not legal? The UFCW is off the hook because they have publicly stated they do not intend to organize the Wal-Mart workforce. They are spending money, time and effort to simply educate the workers and customers of Wal-Mart. ‘Tis the season of giving, I guess.
Wal-Mart had argued before the NLRB that the payment of protesters was an excessive strike benefit (as it regarded the miniscule number of actual Wal-Mart employees). The NLRB found against Wal-Mart because the union was willing to pay ANYBODY who showed up willing to wave a sign, chant a song, and march in a circle in zombie-like fashion until they felt they’d earned their $50.00 So since they are only pretending to be employees, it’s OK.
This is the latest in a string of decisions that shows that labor laws designed in the Depression are ill suited to deal with the asymmetrical tactics of the Alt Labor movement. It’s high time employers started talking to their representatives about a successor to the Wagner Act.