After Continued Violence, UFCW Calls for National Summit on Justice

Public Letter in New York Times Calls on Leaders to Convene, Media to Broadcast a National Conversation

UFCW_logo.svgWashington, D.C. – With acts of violence against police officers and African Americans shaking our nation, today the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union placed an open letter in the New York Times calling for a national and public summit on justice in America.

The UFCW letter was submitted before the deaths of three police officers in Baton RougeSunday morning. It pleads with our nation’s elected officials, civil rights leaders, police and justice officials to jointly address the division and violence we are witnessing. It also asks our nation’s broadcast and cable networks to air this discussion in prime time to help unite the country.

“Even before yesterday’s horrific killings, our hope was that this open letter would encourage Americans to come together and face what divides us,” said Marc Perrone, International President for the UFCW and co-chair of the AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice. “For the sake of all our children, we must believe in a better America. We cannot continue to allow hate to determine who we are and who we can be.”

Excerpts from the ad are below:

“As a diverse union family with over 1.3 million members, such a national summit would give our members and all Americans the chance to hear directly from our national and state elected leaders, civil rights officials, Black Lives Matter movement leaders, local and state police officials, as well as representatives from labor, media, and corporate America.

“It would provide opportunity to listen to difficult truths, to hear the sincerity of fears and concerns so many feel, and to understand the changes that we must make.

“To help focus our nation’s awareness, we believe that all our nation’s major cable and broadcast channels should all agree to televise this national summit in prime time. By simulcasting this summit across all major networks, the call for change would echo across this nation like never before.”

Read the full letter here.


UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about the UFCW

Black Friday Protests Kick Off In Dozens Of Cities

Dozens of Black Friday Actions Take Place Outside Walmart Stores Nationwide OUR Walmart and Allies United in Call for $15/hour And Full-Time

Comes On The Heels Of A More Than Two Week Fast
By 1,400 Calling Out The Giant Retailer for the Hunger Crisis at Walmart

Black Friday Protests (Image by Mary Clinton Twitter)

Black Friday Protests (Image by Mary Clinton Twitter)

Friday, November 27, 2015 — Today, in cities across the county, Walmart workers and dozens of allied groups are joining together in a united call for “$15 and full-time” for the millions of hardworking associates who are struggling to put food on the table this holiday season on Walmart’s poverty pay and inconsistent hours. Today’s actions, outside a dozen Walmart stores across the nation, comes on the heels of a more than two-week fast by 1,400 people, including hundreds of Walmart workers, many of whom are working this holiday season, including Jasmine Dixon, a mother of two in Denver Colorado and Lisa Pietro, a grandmother in Winter Haven, Florida. This is the fourth year of Black Friday actions by OUR Walmart and the biggest coalition yet – with more than twenty-two different organizations partnering in the actions.

OUR Walmart Black Friday actions are taking place at hundreds of stores across the country today including large crowds expected in: New York City, Tampa, Washington, DC, Miami, Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, Seattle, Portland and Detroit.  More than 200,000 have signed petitions calling on Walmart to change. You can follow along using the hashtag #Fastfor15 and learn more at:

Their message is clear: while Walmart employees can barely put food on the table this Thanksgiving, Walmart continues to thrive as the largest supplier of groceries in the nation and line the pockets of the Walton family with corporate greed. Anything less than $15 and full-time is not enough for Walmart workers.

“This Black Friday, Walmart will not be able to ignore their employees who sacrifice time with their families—even on Thanksgiving, like me—to earn a paycheck that won’t even cover basic groceries,” said Pat Scott, a Walmart employee in Washington. “We’ve been fasting for $15 an hour and full-time work outside of stores and Walton estates across the country—they know we’re going hungry, that my co-workers and I skip meals and pick up our dinners at food banks on our way home. The question is whether Walmart will use any of last year’s $16 billion in profits to do anything about it.

“This Thanksgiving, I worked at Walmart for the third year in a row because I worry about becoming homeless again like I was when Walmart forced me to taken an early, unpaid maternity leave,” said Jasmine Dixon, a Walmart employee in Colorado. “But I deserve more than such a low wage that my family and I still have to rely on food stamps and donations. Walmart needs to learn to respect us as people who work hard every day and stop taking advantage of us.”

This week, OUR Walmart released company testimony to the public for the first time revealing Walmart’s surveillance of their workers fighting for $15 an hour and full-time work in the wake of Black Friday strikes in 2012 and the “Ride for Respect” in 2013. In addition to closely monitoring the lawful labor rights activism of its associates on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, as the company faced a wave of bad publicity and negative same store sales, Walmart enlisted military industrial giant Lockheed Martin to spy on its workers and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to gather intelligence on protests.  

In response to these acts by Walmart, OUR Walmart is launching a campaign focused on key members of the congress whose responsibility it is to oversee the FBI and its activities.  You can see the campaign here –

Quick Facts:

●     The Walton heirs own half of Walmart, which raked in $16 billion in profits over the last year. Their wealth has been greater than the bottom 42 percent of all American families combined.

●     More Americans buy their groceries at Walmart than anywhere else — capturing about 25% of the grocery market in the U.S., and up from around 7% in 2002, yet workers can’t even afford to shop there.

●     Walmart is the largest company by revenue in the US — and their US retail sales exceed those of Kroger, Target and Costco combined.

●     37 million people shop at Walmart every day — that’s more than the entire population of Canada.

IKEA Workers In Stoughton, MA., File For Union Representation With UFCW

IKEA Workers Union UFCW

BOSTON – Today, workers at the IKEA furniture store in Stoughton, Mass. filed with the company for union recognition. While IKEA USA has union manufacturing plants in Danville, Va., and IKEA Group prides itself on positive relationships with unionized workers in stores around the world, this is the first time that IKEA retail workers in the United States have formed a union.

The bargaining unit consists of workers in the Goods Flow In department. The workers are joining the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the nation’s largest private sector union with 1.3 million members.

“I love working at IKEA, and I want to make a career here,” said eight year IKEA co-worker Chris DeAngelo. “A union is the best way to work together to live our values and build an even better IKEA. We’ve gone through a lot at our store, but this is a chance to turn over a new leaf and reset the relationship between IKEA’s hard-working men and women and management. If IKEA does what is right and chooses to recognize our union today, it will show that IKEA respects our right to join a union without fear of retaliation or harassment.”

Workers are seeking union recognition in an NLRB process that allows an employer to voluntarily recognize a union when workers demonstrate majority support. An overwhelming majority of Goods Flow In workers have signed a public petition to join the union. A copy of the petition can be obtained by contacting

The Boston-area IKEA store has been the subject of a recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) complaint filed in Boston, alleging that the company violated federal law by unlawfully infringing on the right of workers to engage in protected union activity. The company has since settled the complaint with the NLRB.

The effort to improve the lives of IKEA workers has garnered domestic and international support. Philip Jennings, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, stated, “here at the meeting of our World Executive Board, the affiliates of UNI, representing 20 million workers, including those working at IKEA stores the world over, have stated their unequivocal support for the brave actions of workers in IKEA Stoughton”.  Jennings continued, “we call on IKEA to listen to the workers at Stoughton and recognize their union rights; and we have today committed to stand with these workers until they have a union contract.”

UNI Global Union is an international federation of unions, representing the unions of IKEA retail workers around the world.

 UNI Global Union, based in Nyon, Switzerland, represents more than 20 million workers from over 900 trade. UNI and our affiliates in all regions are driven by the responsibility to ensure these jobs are decent and workers’ rights are protected, including the right to join a union and collective bargaining.

Coalition Tests The Strength Of Labor Protections In International Trade Agreements

Testing Labor Protections Within International Trade Agreements, Coalition Files Complaints Against Multinational Supermarket Chain 

Coalition of Labor and Consumer Groups File NAFTA and OECD complaints to Halt Worker Abuse at Mexican Retail Giant Chedraui Commercial Group 

WASHINGTON— As the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) debate intensifies, a coalition of U.S. and Mexican labor and civil society groups are taking an unprecedented legal approach to protect workers’ rights that will test the strength of labor protections in international trade agreements.

The coalition filed “double barrel” complaints today under the NAFTA labor agreement and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines to challenge workers’ rights abuses in both Mexico and the United States by Mexican retail giant Chedraui Commercial Group. The groups were led by the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 770 (UFCW) union in the United States and the Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT) union in Mexico.                                          

“Chedraui is a multinational firm that should live up to the labor standards set by NAFTA and the OECD guidelines,” said UFCW Local 770 President Ricardo Icaza. “In both Mexico and the United States, the company has silenced employees’ voices and trampled their rights, and we believe an international solution is necessary to this international problem.”

Chedraui is Mexico’s third-largest retail chain with 35,000 employees in more than 200 stores throughout the country.  Through its 83 percent ownership stake, Chedraui controls California-based Bodega Latina Corporation, which does business as the El Super grocery chain. El Super has 50 supermarkets employing more than 5,000 workers in California, Arizona and Nevada. 

The joint complaint has implications for the upcoming Congressional review of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“President Obama is pushing for TPP approval in the face of strong opposition from unions and others who see it as a giveaway to multinational companies that will only intensify inequality and downward pressure on jobs and wages,” said University of Maryland international labor law professor Marley Weiss, who was formerly chair of the U.S. National Advisory Committee on the NAFTA labor agreement.  “If the administration fails to take strong action in this Chedraui case, critics will see it as a signal that the United States is falling short on linking trade, investment and labor rights.” 

The OECD complaint calls for a halt to El Super’s aggressive, multi-year campaign of coercion against workers seeking a living wage, adequate sick days and affordable health insurance. After a series of unfair labor practice charges, the U.S. federal government sought a rare injunction to force the company to rehire a wrongfully fired union activist and reinstate unlawfully changed benefits, and return to the bargaining table.  The Federal Court issued injunctive relief and as a result of the government’s actions the company agreed to return to union contract negotiations with the UFCW.  However, the company has continued to ignore its obligations under the National Labor Relations Act and the two sides remain far apart in bargaining.

The NAFTA complaint alleges that Chedraui has cultivated dozens of sham unions in Mexico through so-called “protection contracts” that represent the interests of management, not workers, and prevent the formation of independent unions. Union officials said they are examining additional claims related to the NAFTA labor agreement’s strictures against child labor, discrimination, health and safety hazards, and wage and hour violations. 

This filing is the first time complaints about a company’s international labor abuses have been simultaneously submitted under both the OECD and NAFTA complaint mechanisms. The groups filing the complaints believe this approach will produce results tailored to the situation in each country. The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) and the Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER) in Mexico co-filed the complaints with the UFCW and FAT.


About the organizations

The UFCW represents 1.3 million workers in retail food, drug stores, packinghouses, food processing plants and other industries. Local 770 has been representing the interests of retail workers in Los Angeles County for 76 years and has 33,000 members, including El Super employees.

The FAT (Authentic Labor Front in English) is an independent confederation of labor unions in Mexico. 

The LAANE is a national leader in the effort to address the challenges of working poverty, inadequate health care and polluted communities.  

The PODER is a regional non-governmental organization whose mission is to improve corporate transparency and accountability in Latin America and to strengthen civil society stakeholders of corporations as long-term accountability guarantors. 

Additional information on the filing process 

The UFCW, FAT, LAANE and PODER filed the NAFTA complaint with U.S. Department of Labor. The NAFTA complaint seeks an investigation into Chedraui’s practices in Mexico and an evaluation of what the unions say is ineffective labor law enforcement by the Mexican government. The U.S. labor department has 60 days to decide whether to accept the NAFTA complaint for review, and it could ultimately lead to fines and other penalties.

Information on the NAFTA labor agreement (formally the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation or NAALC) and its complaint mechanisms is available at the website of the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) at 

The same coalition filed a complaint against El Super in the United States under the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises of the 34-nation OECD. The organization adopted the guidelines in 2011 to promote good corporate citizenship by firms investing in other member countries. On industrial relations, the guidelines require good faith collective bargaining, respect for workers’ organizing rights, and fair pay and conditions. 

Each OECD country maintains a National Contact Point (NCP) to receive complaints about labor abuses by foreign investors.  Based in the State Department, the U.S. NCP has three months to decide whether to act on the unions’ complaint against Chedraui’s El Super chain. It can offer a mediation process that aims at resolving the dispute within six months.

Information on the OECD Guidelines and the U.S. National Contact Point is available at the US NCP website at U.S. NCP confidentiality rules do not allow disclosure of the text of the unions’ complaint. However, information on El Super’s conduct is available on the union website at


UFCW President Marc Perrone Says We “Must Defeat The TPP Once And For All”

UFCW_logo.svgWashington, D.C. — Today, Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the largest private sector union in the nation, released the following statement in response to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal text becoming public.

“Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton don’t agree on much, but both believe that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a terrible trade deal for America.

“In a nation so divided politically, a trade deal must be truly devastating to hard-working families when leading Presidential candidates from both parties find common ground in opposing it.

“Of course, the American people should not take anyone’s word for it. Finally, everyone will now have the opportunity, after months of backroom deals and secret negotiations, to read for themselves the truth about how this trade deal will destroy jobs and lead to lower wages in America. 

“Our message to Members of Congress is a simple one – listen to the concerns of UFCW members, everyday Americans and even the leading voices in the current Presidential race – and defeat the TPP once and for all.

“We may not be able to change every mind, but we will remember and hold accountable those elected leaders, Democrat or Republican, who choose to stand with corporate special interests, instead of doing what is right for hard-working men and women and their families.”

Union for Co-op Workers AND Co-op Food Stores Settle Unfair Labor Practice Case

Settlement agreement resolves charges that The Co-op Food Stores violated worker rights

UFCW_logo.svgLEBANON, N.H.– After a contentious union election at its Lebanon location, The Co-op Food Stores has signed a settlement agreement with the National Labor Relations Board and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). The settlement contains multiple actions ensuring that workers at The Co-op Food Stores know their rights and do not have those rights violated by their employer.

As part of the agreement, The Co-op Food Stores reinstated a terminated employee with back pay, will remove discipline from another vocal union supporter’s file and will change eight sections of its handbook to ensure that its policies do not restrict workers’ rights to organize. They will also post a notice at all four of its locations informing all their employees of their rights to organize and pledging not to violate federal law. These postings include a pledge not to surveil, threaten, discipline or fire workers for discussing their working conditions or forming a union.

“We believe that this election was not free from intimidation and interference by management, and this settlement agreement begins to right some of the wrongs” said UFCW Local 1459 President Dan Clifford. “As at The Co-op Food Stores, Local 1459 stands by every retail worker who wants a voice at work and feels intimidated and harassed for standing up.”

UFCW Local 1459 represents hundreds of co-op workers across five co-op stores in Western New England. The local will continue to support workers at the Co-op Food Store locations who want to join other workers across the country and work together for improved wages, hours, and working conditions.

“Although the election was unsuccessful, we have made real change at the co-op and will continue to stand up for what’s right,” said Kristin Henault, Cheese Clerk at The Co-op Food Stores Lebanon location. “Workers and member-owners have been coming together to improve this co-op for several years and much more will be done to ensure Co-op Food Stores lives up to its cooperative principles.”

UNIONS MATTER: A&P Supermarket Workers, The UFCW, & The Fight For Justice!


By Matthew D’Amico for Unions Matter

In July, the supermarket chain A&P filed for bankruptcy—for the second time in the last five years. It operates more than 300 grocery stores, including Pathmark in the Northeast, employing in total about 30,000 men and women. According to an article on, some 4,500 workers at A&P stores throughout NJ are being notified that they will be out of a job on Thanksgiving Day. Negotiations are underway with various chains including Key Food, which wants to buy A&P stores at bargain basement prices. As we can see from the following, posted on the blog of Local 1500 of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), there is a ferocious battle being waged between the union fighting for their members who work at A&P stores and Key Food, which wants to buy the stores by capitalizing on the A&P bankruptcy. The blog states:

“Key Food’s proposals are greedy, shortsighted and offensive to all of the hardworking men and women we represent. The company has been insistent in proposing that the new owner has the right to reduce the pay of all employees, the right to reduce your hours and the right to reduce your health coverage at their own discretion.

“Together, our unions have made it clear to Key Food that we will not accept any concessionary proposals that would result in diminishing the lifestyles of our members.

“We are not obligated in any way to accept their greedy terms….It is [our] position that if Key Food was allowed to reduce pay by $5 per hour, reduce hours from 40 to 35 hours per week, and reduce health coverage from family plans to single [person coverage] that the damage would be catastrophic. The proposed pay and hour cuts would equate to well over $250 per week in lost wages and the difference between a single and family medical plan could be as much as $600 to $700 per month. If that’s not enough, the company also has the arrogance to demand our members begin making a weekly contribution into this new inferior healthcare plan. These terms are simply unacceptable.

I respect the passion in this writing. It’s shameful that men and women who have given many years of their working lives to A&P are forced to be in this situation at all. The last time A&P went bankrupt, in 2010, its employees gave up $625 million in concessions to help the company stay afloat. A&P is on the rocks again today largely due to strong competition by Walmart and by its own mismanagement—and, of course, the company is blaming its failure on the union contracts. This is a scenario which has played out many times throughout our country. A company such as A&P declares bankruptcy and looks for a buyer–in this instance, Key Food. To make the sale attractive and protect its assets, a bankrupt company will usually gut worker pay and benefits while making sure executives get their golden parachutes and shareholders, a return on their investment. For instance, last year a bankruptcy judge granted a request by Trump Entertainment Resorts to terminate its contract with Local 54 of the UNITE HERE union. The company and their investors said the casino couldn’t survive without shedding costly pension and health care obligations. This is a fake reason for robbing workers of their pensions and health benefits. The idea that an “investor” takes precedence over an employee—has no basis in fact. Workers earned the profits. Why should investors who did no work have a claim to the profits now? They don’t!

In an important issue of the journal The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education, wrote about a situation that emerged during the recession of 2008—the restructuring of the auto industry. And it’s very pertinent to what is now occurring with A&P:

There’s only one reason for suggesting that union contracts are hurting the auto industry. That reason is the assumption that we must protect the thing that’s the real blight on American economics: private profits for people who didn’t do the work….To blame union contracts for any of the auto industry’s financial trouble is disingenuous and an insult to the American people. The true feeling of Americans is: All of us should be making at least what our brothers and sisters in the UAW are. Nothing should be taken away from them—the nation should make sure good salaries and healthcare and pensions are had by everyone! What we want is something fundamentally American. What we want is a profit-for-those-who-do-the-work system. What we want is a profit-for-all-Americans system.’”

As a political coordinator for a public sector union (CSEA, AFSCME, AFL-CIO), I have seen the same rhetoric attacking unionized public employees that is used against those in the private sector. We are attacked for having “generous” pensions and benefits. Our work can’t be shipped overseas but it can be outsourced and given over to companies that pay workers low wages with no benefits. I’ve learned that the only way profit economics can survive is by impoverishing the American people, having people be poorer. This is why, Ellen Reiss has explained, that There has been a furious effort to safeguard profit economics by wiping out the long-fought-for achievements of unions, and if possible unions themselves.

As we are about to celebrate Labor Day and honor the sacrifices of those who fought and even died for working people to be treated with the fairness they deserve, it is imperative for the American people and unions to be clearer than ever about the justice unions fought for and stand for. This clearness includes an economy that is fair to people—where the profits go to the people who do the work—not to exorbitantly paid executives and shareholders who profit from the labor of others.

Eli Siegel, the founder of Aesthetic Realism, asked a vital question which I’ve spoken about to the members of my union—to good effect: “What does a person deserve by being a person?” We should think of this question the next time we see someone working at a grocery store. What does the woman working at the deli counter deserve? What does the man stocking the shelves with cans of food deserve? What does the lady at the cash register scanning our purchases deserve? When these questions are answered honestly by Americans from coast to coast, we will be closer to having an economy that is both kind and efficient.


I also want my brothers and sisters to know about a great event: the repeat performance of “Ethics is a Force 2015!—Songs About Labor,which will be presented by the Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company on Sunday, September 13th at 2:30 PM at the Aesthetic Realism Foundation in NYC (SoHo). There is this from the announcement: “This show of songs and comment explains truly and thrillingly what’s really happening in the American economy today, and in the feelings of men and women!” I was at the first presentation, and I tell you, it was electrifying. It can strengthen the life of every union member, and I hope you will be there!

UFCW President Perrone: “We Will End LGBTQ Discrimination in the Workplace”

UFCW_logo.svgUFCW Vows to Fight for LGBTQ Rights at Work and Advocate for Comprehensive Healthcare for Transgendered Workers

ORLANDO — Today, Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), the largest private sector union in the nation, addressed LGBTQ union members at the AFL-CIO Pride at Work conference in Orlando, Fla. The UFCW was the first labor union to endorse the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The UFCW also implemented a policy of including gender reassignment surgery as part of a comprehensive Health and Welfare plan for union employees:

“Even though we are celebrating marriage equality this summer, too many LGBTQ workers still endure discrimination in workplaces that are far from equal. Today, in 29 states, it is still legal to fire a worker on the basis of their sexual orientation. In 33 states, a worker can be fired for being transgendered.

“Right now, the only way for these workers to gain the protection at work that we all deserve is through a union contract.

“In this spirit, I am proud to say that as part of our long commitment to equality for all workers, the UFCW is changing our Health and Welfare plan to include gender reassignment surgery. While this is a change that should have been made long ago, it is a change that I am proud of.

“The UFCW is committed to putting an end to discrimination in the workplace. We will stand up, speak out and fight for what is right when companies disregard the value of hard-working men and women, based on whom they may love or who they are.”

Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at

We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.   @UFCW

UFCW President Perrone: “The Best Way to Help the Jobless is to Stop Passing Trade Agreements like TPP that Kill Jobs.”

UFCW_logo.svg“Our campaign for trade policy that is fair and just will continue full speed ahead.”

Washington, D.C. — Today, Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the largest private sector union in the nation, released the following statement in response to the U.S. House failing to advance fast track trade legislation.

“This is a victory for hard-working men and women all across America. In the face of long odds, the American people sent a powerful message that their interests trump narrow political agendas and special interests.

“Today, we saw elected leaders stand up and make clear that the failed promises of global trade agreements, which only seem to serve irresponsible corporations, must come to an end. More importantly, we have seen what hard-working families can accomplish when we stand together and fight for what is right for both workers and this nation.

“With respect to TAA, we support a clean extension of the program, but the best way to help the jobless is to simply stop passing trade agreements like TPP that kill jobs.

“While one vote does not end the fight, our campaign for a better America will continue full speed ahead until the threat of TPP and other unfair trade deals is gone for good.”

Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at

We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.    @UFCW

New Charge Against Hanover-Lebanon Cooperative Society Alleges Unlawful Anti-Worker Conduct

UFCW_logo.svgLocal Co-op Charged with Intimidating and Interfering with its Workers’ Rights

HANOVER, N.H.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) filed a federal charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that management at the Hanover-Lebanon Cooperative Society unlawfully stifled workers’ rights to organize – including preventing them from talking about unions inside the store and intimidating workers who were discussing organizing a union. The Hanover-Lebanon Cooperative Society employs over 400 workers out of five retail locations and a commissary kitchen and does business locally as The Co-op Food Stores.

“Unions and co-ops are like peas and pods – they stem from the same core, they share the same values,” said co-op Member Len Ziefert. “It is antithetical for co-ops to oppose unionization, unions are employees working cooperatively.”

The member-owned co-op has been in the spotlight over the last year following the termination of two well-regarded employees. The fired workers sued co-op management, claiming they were fired as retaliation for speaking out about workplace conditions and for talking with union representatives. After the fallout from this lawsuit, members elected three new directors to the board who are focused on making the co-op more worker-friendly. While the wrongful termination case is currently still being litigated, this unrelated NLRB charge raises the question if anything has changed at The Co-op Food Stores or if co-op management continues to engage in anti-worker practices.

“By standing together in union, workers preserve their voice and true co-op principles,” said Reid Kotlas, a regular shopper. “The Co-op Food Stores should live up to the values of its member-owners and of the co-op movement and respect its workers’ rights to organize a union.”

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