Shoppers Workers Charge Company with Labor Law Violations
NLRB Filings Allege Unlawful Retaliation Against Union Members As Bargaining Deadline Looms
LANDOVER, Md., June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Alleging unlawful retaliation against union members in an attempt to intimidate them into accepting a contract that would drive down their living standards and their health and retirement security, members of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 working at Shoppers Food & Pharmacy have filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Shoppers workers have mobilized and are reaching out to customers and the community to inform them about what is at stake in their battle for a new collective bargaining agreement. With the July 7, 2012, deadline looming, management has started a concerned effort to create a climate of fear, the workers charge. Tactics include stopping workers from talking with customers, harassing them off the clock, unilaterally altering their vacation bonuses, imposing onerous hours on a union activist, interfering with another activist's right to wear a UFCW Local 400 button, and denying workers their free speech rights through social media.
"Shoppers management is trying to ram pay and benefit cuts down our throats while forcing us to keep our mouths shut about it," said Christy Bennett , a Shoppers worker and member of UFCW Local 400's Bargaining Advisory Committee. "But they cannot and will not silence us. They will not keep us from explaining that Shoppers' problems are due to incompetence at the very top and that it's our hard work and loyalty that has kept the company in business."
"I am proud to wear my Local 400 button at work," said Mary Ussery , a Shoppers worker who is also a member of the Bargaining Advisory Committee. "My supervisors had the audacity to tell me to take it off. They don't have that right. Shoppers will not stop me from fighting for my brothers and sisters at the bargaining table or from explaining our situation to my customers."
"I was in the parking lot outside of one of our stores, talking with customers about the importance of keeping middle class jobs in our community, when management came up and told us we had to stop," said Shoppers worker and Local 400 member Jose Mercado . "We weren't disrupting anything and the company lets other groups solicit in front of the store, so how can they kick their own workers off the property? If Shoppers management think they can drive their own workers into poverty and keep their customers in the dark about it, they've got another thing coming."
With the contract deadline looming and little progress made in bargaining so far, the management actions that caused the filing of NLRB charges are only making it more difficult to come to a resolution.
UFCW Local 400 represents 40,000 members working in the retail food, health care, retail department store, food processing, service and other industries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. For more information on Shoppers bargaining, please visit http://SaveOurShoppers.org.
SOURCE UFCW Local 400
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