The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) must have carefully read Josh Eidelson’s article on “Alt-Labor” to learn that if it wants to help save unions, it needs to help out “worker centers.”
The NLRB issued a news release today explaining its decision to hold in abeyance Wal-Mart’s charge that the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) committed an unfair labor practice (ULP). Wal-Mart contacted the NLRB just before Thanksgiving as Making Change at Walmart, along with OUR Walmart, a “worker center” that is a subsidiary of the UFCW, attempted to disrupt Black Friday shoppers.
Rather than decide the case, the NLRB decided to hear what the UFCW would commit to (after the protests, of course). The UFCW committed to “disavow… any recognitional or organizational object” and update of its websites and other materials to say as much and “not to engage in any picketing or confrontational conduct that is the functional equivalent of picketing for 60 days.”
So the UFCW will take a small break from protest circuit, all the while pretending to not have an interest in organizing Wal-Mart workers. The NLRB’s Advice Memorandum makes it clear that the Board is willing to stay ignorant and believe the hype that so-called worker centers, like OUR Walmart or the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), just want to “help” employees. In reality, “alt-labor” groups won’t hesitate if they ever get the chance to start skimming from employee paychecks and into the pockets of union officials.