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Labor board still investigating Wal-Mart dispute

NEW YORK (AP) -- Federal labor officials say they haven't decided whether to support a request by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to stop a union-backed group from encouraging worker walk-outs that are expected to culminate Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

The world's largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. It said the demonstrations organized by union-backed OUR Walmart threaten to disrupt its business and intimidate customers and other associates.

NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland said Monday that its goal was to decide whether Wal-Mart's case had merit within 72 hours of the filing. She said Tuesday the board now expects to complete its investigation Wednesday.