UFCW Hormel workers are holding a chain-wide handbill action in support of a UFCW steward named Jen Pulaski who was unjustly fired for standing up for her coworkers and exercising her union rights. Hormel workers from UFCW Locals 6, 9, 293, 431, 1473, and 1996 are handbilling their managers and HR directors to send a message telling them that this kind of retaliation won’t be tolerated – and that they won’t rest until there’s “Justice for Jen.”
Jen, a steward at the Beloit, Wis., Hormel plant and a 12 year veteran was fired in retaliation for her advocacy on behalf of her coworkers. Jen has been an active steward this year, and almost every time Jen took action to make work a better place for her coworkers, she was disciplined on the job. Eventually, she was fired on a trumped-up “misconduct” charge.
Back in March, Jen testified on behalf of a co-worker in an arbitration, and her testimony made the Human Resources manager at her plant look bad. The next day, she was disciplined. In early May, she attended a union meeting. She was disciplined the day she returned to work. At the end of May, she was named as a plaintiff in a state wage and hour complaint because she and other workers weren’t being properly paid while they were donning and doffing required equipment. She was disciplined again. Finally, while representing a co-worker in a grievance, the discussion got heated. The next day, she was fired on a trumped-up “misconduct” charge.
The pattern of action met with discipline and termination makes it clear that her firing was unjust retaliation for her work as a union steward and advocacy on behalf of her co-workers. This is just the latest in of a string of company attempts to silence Jen and other stewards, and weaken workers’ union voice. UFCW Local 1473 has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board against Hormel to stand up for Jen.