Walmart (NYSE:WMT) sued a labor union and a non-union labor group on Friday (May 10), accusing them of trespassing, harassing customers and damaging property as part of demonstrations at a Los Angeles-area Walmart last year, according to the Huffington Post. The protests reportedly sparked similar demonstrations in other cities.
The lawsuit, filed in California state court against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OURWalmart), claims the groups confronted store managers, set balloons free inside the store and blocked customer traffic, despite cease-and-desist letters from the chain. The retailer said store personnel called police on multiple occasions to remove protesters, but that police often arrived after the disruptions had already taken place.
Walmart previously filed similar lawsuits in Florida and Washington over demonstrations there. Walmart stores are not unionized, and the UFCW and OURWalmart have been attempting to organize workers at some stores. The groups also encouraged workers to walk out during Black Friday weekend.
There have been four other demonstrations in recent weeks that may have been sparked by the Walmart protests but were aimed at a larger group of retailers. Protests against McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), Subway, Dunkin' Donuts (NASDAQ:DNKN), Macy's (NYSE:M), Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD), Nordstrom Rack (NYSE:JWN), Victoria's Secret (NYSE:LTD) and other stores have been held in New York, Chicago, Saint Louis and, on Friday (May 10), Detroit.
Those protests, which included some employees walking off the job, are unusual because they have been focused on setting a $15 baseline wage for the retail and fast-food workers. The protesters reportedly picketed stores but did not enter them.
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