Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has announced it plans to reopen five of its U.S. stores, which had closures that triggered a union complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Some are scheduled to reopen late October, while others are set to open early November.
Previous employees are being encouraged to apply again, while those who were already transferred may do the same. Moreover, Wal-Mart spokesman Lorenzo Lopez told Reuters that the company shall begin hiring people for the reopening stores in Texas, Oklahoma, California and Florida.
The tension between Wal-Mart and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) started when the former announced in April that it would be closing some stores in order to address some plumbing and repair issues. The said closure affected as much as 2,200 workers. This prompted the UFCW to file a complaint with the NLRB.
In the complaint, the UFCW stated that Wal-Mart was just using the need to do plumbing and repair work as an excuse to be able to close its store in Pico Rivera, California. moreover, this allowed Wal-Mart to thwart the attempts of some workers to organize for better pay and benefits. Moreover, the UFCW alleges that the closure of four other stores was just a mere cover.
In response, Wal-Mart denies making excuses just to be able to close some of its stores. In fact, the company states the repairs were, indeed, needed. Moreover, the company also looked into plans to reopen all five stores in time for the shopping season during the year-end holidays. Lorenzo also said that they are continuing with plumbing repairs and store upgrades.