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Publish Date: 3/17/2005

Labor board to probe Wal-Mart union claims
Hearings to investigate allegations of hostility


LOVELAND — Employees at Loveland’s Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Express may get another chance at a union vote.

The National Labor Relations Board will hold a hearing March 25 to investigate union claims that Wal-Mart created an atmosphere of intimidation and fear, threatened employees, provided misinformation and purposefully “diluted” the voting pool in the auto shop by hiring more employees.

Allan Benson, regional director of the National Labor Relations Board office in Denver, ruled Tuesday that union officials “raise substantial and material issues of fact, including credibility resolutions, which can best be resolved at a hearing.”

Of the 18 Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Express workers who voted in late February, all but one employee voted against forming a union.

In November, nine employees at the Loveland Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Express had submitted a petition to hold an election to unionize.

If the labor board investigation supports union claims, the board could decide to conduct another election.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Christi Gallagher has said the union objections are “simply not true.” She has said Wal-Mart officials’ conduct before and during the election was fair.

Dave Minshall, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 spokesman, said the union is happy the labor board is pursuing the case.

“All the workers want is an open and fair election,” he said.

“And we think the National Labor Relations Board will help us get that.”

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