WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The National Labor Relations Board said it issued a complaint against U.S. retail giant Walmart for violating worker rights during recent protests over wages.
The NLRB Office of the General Counsel said it has charged the company with violating worker rights in 14 states in a complaint that names more than 60 Walmart supervisors and one corporate officer.
The complaints were authorized in November, the NLRB said, but they were not issued to give Walmart time to reach settlements on each case. However, "the discussions have not been successful," the NLRB said, announcing it had issued a consolidated complaint to cover a variety of allegations.
The NLRB said more than 60 employees were involved in the case, 19 of whom were fired allegedly for participating in activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act.
"The National Labor Relations Act guarantees the right of private sector employees to act together to try to improve their wages and working conditions with or without a union," the labor board said.
The labor board said statements made to employees in California and Texas, two of them during television news broadcasts, threatened retaliation against employees who took part in strikes or other protests.
At stores in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington, Walmart illegally "threatened, disciplined, and/or terminated employees for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests," the NLRB said.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union said the complaint names 63 store managers and Walmart's vice president of communication David Tovar as being "responsible for illegal threats made to employees."
"Walmart thinks it can scare us with attacks to keep us from having a real conversation about the poverty wages we're paid," said fired Walmart employee Barbara Collins of Placerville, Calif., in a statement.
"But too much is at stake -- the strength of our economy and the security of our families -- to stay silent about why Walmart needs to improve jobs," she said.