The National Labor Relations Board ruled today that employees at a Colorado Wal-Mart tire department can hold a union election. The election likely will be scheduled for late February.
Nine of the 17 employees of the Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Express in Loveland signed cards last year asking for a vote. If a majority votes to organize -- it would be the first time in several years that a union has gained a foothold in the country's largest retailer.
Meatcutters at a Texas Wal-Mart voted in 2000 to organize before the company eliminated that job category. The retailer says the move wasn't related to the vote.
In Loveland -- some of the workers in the tire department want to be represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
Wal-Mart has objected -- saying the department is only one part of its Loveland store and isn't eligible for its own union. The retailer plans to ask labor officials in Washington to review the regional office's decision.
Union spokesman Dave Minshall says it's great news for the workers.
Wal-Mart says none of its stores or departments has formed a union in the United States. Labor officials have certified union status for workers at two stores in Canada.