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The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) yesterday agreed to stop trying to unionize Walmart employees for at least 60 days, "even though it helped coordinate picketing, protests and scattered strikes about wages and working conditions at the retailer last fall," according to the story in the New York Times, which noted that the UFCW made the agreement to avert a likely judgement by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that the picketing was, in fact, illegal.

According to the story, the NLRB promised to "hold in abeyance any charges against the union and its affiliate, OUR Walmart, for six months to make sure they fulfilled their commitments."

The charges were brought by Walmart, which said that the UFCW violated federal law that "prohibits worker groups from engaging in more than 30 days of picketing that is aimed at gaining union recognition." While OUR Walmart had at some points said that its picketing goals were purely informational, it also said at other times that its ultimate goal was the unionization of all Walmart's employees - which put it at odds with established law.

Walmart released the following statement after the agreement was reached: "Today, the National Labor Relations Board and the U.F.C.W. reached a settlement agreement that will bring the union’s unlawful tactics and disruptions toward Wal-Mart, our associates and our customers to an end. Our associates can now move forward knowing that the U.F.C.W. must stop its illegal and disruptive activities."

In its own statement, OUR Walmart said it "will continue to inform its members and supporters that the organization’s purpose is to help Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards."
KC's View:
This is a temporary truce, nothing more. But it is good news for Walmart, which could use a win to distract attention from the Mexico bribery scandal.