UFCW and UFCW/RWDSU Locals 338, 371, 464-A, 888, 919, 1245, 1360 participated in UFCW Local 1500’s day of action on July 22 to support eight Mrs. Green’s Natural Market workers who are returning to work after being unlawfully fired. The day of action commemorated the workers’ victory, fighting back against a multi-national employer.
The eight workers were leading union supporters in a closely contested election to join UFCW Local 1500 in May 2013. After just barely losing the election, in June 2013 the NLRB charged Mrs. Green’s with violating federal labor laws and illegally interrogating and intimidating employees during the weeks leading up to the union election. In the meantime, employees began to meet with local elected politicians to discuss the difficulties were facing every day at their job and how having a union voice would make their jobs better. In November 2013, the federal charges were settled and Mrs. Green’s agreed under federal order to create an intimidation free environment for their workers, and post a notice in their store for 60-days.
In January 2014 during the 60-day settlement period, Mrs. Green’s unlawfully fired eight workers who were vocal UFCW supporters. The workers had over 60 years of combined experience and some of them worked at the store for over 13 years. UFCW Local 1500 filed charges to the NLRB that Mrs. Green’s unlawfully fired the eight workers for supporting a union. In May 2014, NLRB Regional Director files a complaint against Mrs. Green’s after finding merit in UFCW Local 1500’s charges that the employees were unlawfully fired. Days after complaint is filed, CEO Robin Michel is forced to step down.
Since the firings in January, workers had been on a picket line in front of the store for over six months until the company settled and agreed to return the workers with back pay, days before a federal hearing on July 24, 2014. The charges were settled after Mrs. Green’s agreed to create a safe, intimidation free atmosphere, and post a federally issued notice on workers’ right to organize.
“We’re happy to be returning to work and could not have done it without the support from the community. The last time we worked inside the store, Mrs. Green’s illegal treatment of us led to the most difficult times in our lives, so thank you all for your support!” said Yesica Mendez, one of the eight unlawfully fired workers who returned to work on July 22.