A Walmart Store At the Heart of a Big Labor Fight Is Open Once Again

November 9, 2015, 4:47 PM UTC
Wal-Mart Opens Its First Chicago Store
Wal-Mart employee Anna Hines walks through the parking lot of the soon-to-opened Wal-Mart September 21, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photograph by Tim Boyle — Getty Images

A once-closed Walmart (WMT) store where workers filed a labor complaint against the retailer has re-opened after several months, the Los Angeles Times reports. Walmart said it closed the Pico Rivera, California location over plumbing issues.

The retailer last week also re-opened three other locations that suddenly closed their doors at the same time for similar reasons in the spring.

“All the repairs are complete and we made extensive upgrades and renovations throughout the store that better reflects the shopping experience our customers now want,” a Walmart spokesman told Fortune by e-mail.

Some at the time speculated that Walmart closed those locations to mask a retaliation effort against workers at the Pico Rivera store. Before the closures, a higher-wage advocacy group filed complaints over that location with the National Labor Relations Board.

A fifth store will re-open before the holiday season, Supermarket News reported.

In April, Walmart abruptly closed the five stores, in Texas, California, Florida and Oklahoma, saying they would be shuttered for “extended repairs” expected to last about six months. Employees at the stores were offered paid leave for two months and could apply for jobs at other Walmart stores.

The theories surrounding the suddenness of the move and the coincidence that five stores would need similar repairs at the same time ranged from the bizarre (that the stores were being used as “guerrilla-warfare staging areas” for a military exercise known as Jade Helm) to a belief the closings were payback for the NLRB complaints. Walmart has always maintained the closings were for much-needed repairs.

Supermarket News reported that workers eligible to be rehired are back on board and that the stores’ layout has been updated.

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