CHICAGO (Reuters) - The largest U.S. grocery union has filed a complaint against
Wal-Mart Stores Inc, asking the National Labor Relations Board to investigate
whether the retailer "bribed" employees to block union activities.
The United Food and Commercial Workers' complaint comes after The Wall Street
Journal reported last week that former Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Tom Coughlin may
have used undocumented expense payments to fund anti-union activities, including
paying union staffers to tell him of pro-union workers in stores.
The union said its complaint, filed on Tuesday, asks the NLRB to "aggressively
investigate whether Wal-Mart bribed employees to suppress worker support for
Shares of Wal-Mart, which have fallen about 6 percent in the past month, edged
up 0.5 percent after Prudential Equity Group raised its rating on the stock
to "neutral weight" from "underweight."
"Wal-Mart's actions seemingly involved the criminal misappropriation of
company funds to create an illegal anti-union slush fund," the union said
in a statement.
The union wants the NLRB to subpoena any documents from Wal-Mart that might
substantiate those charges.
A Wal-Mart spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The
retailer has previously said it investigated the allegation of payments to union
representatives and found no evidence to support it.
In a letter to the NLRB accompanying the complaint, the union said it suspected
that Wal-Mart "spread bribes in stores whose workers were actively organizing
but abruptly abandoned their activity" in 13 U.S. states.
Wal-Mart is the largest U.S. private employer with more than 1.2 million employees.
The company has repeatedly said its policy of open communication with employees
means there is no need for a union, but labor groups contend the retailer is
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