With Workers On Strike And Company Under Labor Investigation, Walmart CEO Steps Down

Walmart CEO Steps Down - Are The Strikes Taking Their Toll On The Company?

Walmart is turning toxic. With workers on strike in 12 states and sharp scrutiny from the National Labor Board, their CEO stepped aside this morning. – Photo of striking Walmart workers from OUR Walmart.

This is a bad week for Walmart. Not only have workers in 28 stores spread across 12 states gone on strike, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has announced the result of its probe, which went against the Benton, AK-based retail giant. So it was no surprise when the CEO, Mike Duke, stepped aside this morning, ahead of the shareholders meeting on Tuesday, and just before the holiday shopping season begins on “Black Friday.”

Workers Gain The Upper Hand Against Walmart.

The company is under heavy fire for the billions it receives in corporate welfare. On top of all the tax breaks, our government covers health care, food stamps, and more for Walmart’s underpaid workers. This costs US taxpayers several billion per year, and the GOP keeps slashing those benefits, which in turn is putting the squeeze on Walmart workers. The company will need to pay more to prevent more turnover from angry workers. Already, Walmart suffers from the failure of temporary workers to make up for the lack of full-time workers, a policy they began to avoid footing the bill for workers’ benefits. Walmart has even had to resort to running a food drive for its own workers.

Of bigger concern for the company are the findings by the NLRB. In the NLRB’s statement, they found that:

“During two national television news broadcasts and in statements to employees at Wal-Mart stores in California and Texas, Wal-Mart unlawfully threatened employees with reprisal if they engaged in strikes and protests on November 22, 2012.” It also ruled that “Wal-Mart stores in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Washington unlawfully threatened, disciplined and/or terminated employees for having engaged in legally protected strikes and protests.”

Fired Walmart Strikers May Get Their Jobs Back.

After the NLRB decision, Walmart is facing the chance that it will have to rehire workers that they fired — and pay them back wages — for last year’s thwarted strike. On top of that, the Labor Board can force the company to inform workers of their rights to unionize, and the process by which they can bring unions into to the stores. This would be a bitter pill for a company that has fought against unions for decades.

Mike Duke’s departure may signal the closing of this dark chapter in Walmart history. Doubtful, but one can hope.