Judge orders Wal-Mart to recognize union

July 1, 2003
A National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge has ordered Wal-Mart to recognize a meat-cutters union established in 2000 at the company's

A National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge has ordered Wal-Mart to recognize a meat-cutters union established in 2000 at the company's Jacksonville TX store, according to a Houston Chronicle newspaper article. The vote by the butchers is the only union success at a Wal-Mart.

When seven of the store's 10 butchers voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), Wal-Mart said it would close its meat-cutting departments and switch to prepackaged meat.

Judge Keltner Locke ruled that Wal-Mart must recognize UFCW Local 540 as bargaining representative for the meat cutters and must restore the department to its previous structure, the union said.

“This is a historic decision — the first bargaining order issued against Wal-Mart in the United States,” Local 540 President Johnny Rodriguez said. “It is a victory for all Wal-Mart workers who are fighting for a voice at work.”

The ruling was termed as “limited” by Wal-Mart.

“Wal-Mart has consistently contended that the union should never have been certified in Jacksonville because the election result was improperly influenced by union misconduct and because the bargaining unit requested was improperly narrow,” the company said in a release. “This portion of the ruling will be appealed.”

Wal-Mart said Locke ruled in its favor in two other cases, including validating election results in which Palestine TX employees voted against UFCW representation.

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