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Wal-Mart to reopen 5 stores closed for plumbing issues that became a labor dispute - Dallas Morning News (blog)

September 7, 2015
Walmart

UPDATED AT NOON WITH NLRB COMMENT)

Wal-Mart is planning to reopen five stores it closed last April for major plumping problems including two in Texas located in Midland and Livingston.

The abrupt store closings became the subject of a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union on behalf of the 2,200 employees. The complaint filed in April argued that the closings were retaliation for labor activism.

The Labor Boards spokeswoman Jessica Kahanek said Thursday that this case is still under investigation.

Wal-Mart has said its cooperating with the NLRB.

One of the three other stores, in Pico River, California, had been the site of regular worker protests against Wal-Mart. The other two stores are in Tulsa and Brandon, Florida.

Wal-Mart spokesman Lorenzo Lopez said Thursday that the company is ready to begin hiring for all five stores. The stores are expected to open in late October and November in time for peak holiday shopping.

Remember, these stores closings are famous for another reason. Some people believed Wal-Mart was in cahoots with the U.S. military and was really building tunnels for its Jade Helm exercises and a takeover of Texas by the federal government.

The hiring process, Lopez said, includes communicating with all of the associates, including those that have transferred to surrounding area stores, and encouraging all others interested in exploring employment opportunities with Wal-Mart to also apply.

Wal-Mart said almost 75 percent of workers that requested a transfer earlier this year received an offer to move to a new store.

The five stores popped out of a national analysis of the most severe issues that caused customers to have bad experiences at Wal-Mart, Lopez said.

Each store had recurring issues of more than 100 incidents over two years that caused major disruptions such as the closing of the deli and overflows in bathrooms.

Sagging, damaged and obstructed sanitary plumping lines were demolished and repaired throughout the buildings. Plumbing fixtures and finishes were replaced and most of the refrigeration and heating and air conditioning equipment is now new, he said. The process included excavating the floor and slab to reach the plumbing.

The stores were slated to be remodeled anyway and received other upgrades.

Lopez declined to say how much it cost to make the repairs.

Even with the physical issues, the stores had a strong customer base, he said.

Wal-Mart wants them open in time for Christmas shopping.

Reuters and Yahoo Finance were the first to report Wal-Marts plans to reopen the stores.

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