LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Picketers at a local Walmart are part of a national protest going on Thursday against the company’s alleged practice of punishing workers who participate in strikes.

Picketing began at the Capital Plaza Walmart in Hyattsville, Md., around 5 p.m.

The Corporate Action Network website lists 14 other cities across the U.S. where similar protests took place.

“The Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), which helped kick off a wave of low-wage worker activism by organizing Walmart strikers on Black Friday of last year, expects Thursday’s protests to be the movement’s biggest day of action since those initial strikes,” according to a ThinkProgress report.

Retaliatory firings violate the National Labor Relations Act. Walmart organizers claim that more than 100 National Labor Relations Board investigations into complaints against the company have produced 11 confirmed violations of the statute, the report says.

Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove wrote in a statement Thursday that the demonstrators are primarily union members and activists.

According to him, most of them “don’t work at Walmart nor are they affiliated with the company in any way.”

“The fact that virtually no associates are participating in this event should tell you that the opinions being expressed aren’t representative of the vast majority of the 1.3 million associates who work for us,” he wrote.

Hargrove also addressed the company’s alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act.

“The associates in question violated our attendance policies which include a multi-step progressive discipline process,” he wrote. “None of these associates received discipline without repeated prior feedback, notices, and warnings. Our decision had nothing to do with a specific protest. Many of these associates just didn’t show up for work for days without any notice or explanation. When someone doesn’t call in or show up for their shift, it is disrespectful to managers and co-workers alike, and it also creates extra work for our associates who do come to work when they are scheduled.”


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