BY ANDREW KHOURI
LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS
A union is seeking an injunction to force Wal-Mart to rehire 2,200 workers laid off when the retailer suddenly closed five stores last week for what it said were needed plumbing repairs.
Among the shuttered stores is one in Pico Rivera, Calif., where workers have aggressively advocated for higher wages and took part in the first Wal-Mart strike in 2012.
In a filing with the National Labor Relations Board, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union alleged that the closing was retaliatory and sought to punish workers “who stand up and speak out for better working conditions.”
It alleged that four other stores were closed — also for what it said were dubious plumbing reasons — to “mask” Wal-Mart’s retaliatory decision against Pico Rivera workers.
The union filed the request Monday on behalf of Our Wal-Mart, a group of employees that is fighting for higher wages and is supported by the union.
Representatives from Wal-Mart could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokesman told the Associated Press that the five stores would be closed for up to six months and that they had the most plumbing issues of its 4,500 locations.
Along with the California store, two in Texas and one in Oklahoma closed. The Florida store is located in the Brandon/Valrico area near Tampa.