NRLB recommends dismissal of union complaint against Wal-Mart |

NRLB recommends dismissal of union complaint against Wal-Mart

DENVER A National Labor Relations Board hearing officer has recommended the dismissal of a complaint that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. somehow influenced a vote against forming a union in one of its Colorado stores.The report, dated Wednesday and made available Friday, goes to the NLRBs national office for a final decision. No timetable was given.Local 7 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union said workers at Wal-Marts Tire & Lube Express in Loveland were intimidated into rejecting unionization in a 17-1 vote on Feb. 25.The union asked for this election, and then didnt want to abide by the results, said Terry Srsen, vice president of labor relations for Wal-Mart, in a written statement.Hearing officer Daniel Michalski recommended the vote be certified.Local 7 spokesman Dave Minshall said the union was considering its options, but he was not surprised by the outcome.Fear won again. The same fear that made people scared to stand up and vote about the union made people afraid to stand up and testify about the intimidation, Minshall said.Joshua Noble, the lone yes vote for unionization, had alleged former manager-trainee Ken Davis physically threatened him and yelled profanities at him while Noble was visiting co-workers a week before the vote.He also accused Wal-Mart of adding anti-union employees to the tire shop to dilute union support a claim the company denied. He was the lone witness in the complaint against Wal-Mart.Michalski wrote that he believed Nobles account of the encounter, which was captured on videotape, but that he disagreed that Davis actions were aimed at influencing votes on union representation. Davis confronted only Noble, and the incident lasted about a minute, Michalski wrote.The brevity of the confrontation further suggests that it was not the type of event to create a general atmosphere of fear and reprisal, he wrote.He found that Wal-Mart immediately investigated Nobles complaint of the encounter and verbally disciplined Davis after the confrontation.Michalski also found that the employees Wal-Mart added to the shop in the months after UFCW sought a union vote were added for legitimate business reasons. None of the new and transferred employees were asked their views on unions before they were added, he wrote.In the only successful union effort by U.S. Wal-Mart workers, meatcutters at a Texas store voted for representation in 2000, but Wal-Mart eliminated the position companywide a month later. Wal-Mart said the move was not related to the election.The company on Friday also announced the closure of a unionized store in Quebec, Canada, whose employees formed a union last year but were never able to negotiate their first contract.Wal-Mart said it closed the store about 155 miles north of Quebec City because it had been losing money.On the Net:Wal-Mart: http://www.nlrb.govUnited Food and Commercial Workers Local 7:

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