TYLER, Texas — A bargaining unit of butchers at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Jacksonville, Texas — the first and only group to win union representation at a Wal-Mart store in the U.S. — has begun bargaining talks with the retailer after almost a decade of legal battles.
The workers won representation from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 540 here in 2000, but their jobs were eliminated when Wal-Mart when to a pre-packaged meat program in all its stores that year. An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board in 2003 ordered Wal-Mart to negotiate with the UFCW as the representative of the former employees, a decision that was affirmed by the NLRB in 2006 and upheld by an appeals court last year.
The UFCW in a statement last week said the case demonstrated the difficulty of organizing under the current system and urged support for the Employee Free Choice Act.
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