9/6/07

UFCW decertified at Portland co-op

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 is out at the Food Front Cooperative Grocery in Northwest Portland, Ore. The National Labor Relations Board today certified the results of the store employees' earlier 20-8 vote on Aug. 29 ending representation by the union.

"It's a pretty strong statement of how we feel about the UFCW," says Stephanie Hawkins, an employee at the store. "They're big business. The co-op is the antithesis to that." Hawkins says the union wasn't around much until employees started talking about decertification. "They would only show up to collect our dues," she tells WWire.

The employees voted in the union about a decade ago but many employees now say their relationship to management has improved and that the union interferes with their ability to work together.

They also took issue with the amount they were paying in dues, roughly $30 per month when the average wage is $10 per hour. The employees figured that the union made about $12,000 from the coop last year.

Ric Ball, Collective Bargaining and Organizing Director for the UFCW, says he "supports workers making their employment choices" and wishes the Food Front employees good luck.

Many of those who voted against the UFCW are still interested in unions and collective action. Hawkins says employees intend to begin looking to replace the union with either a smaller union than the UFCW, or another employee organization that can advocate for itself to management.

If the employees should find another union, they must wait a year before they can have another NLRB election.

(wweek.com)

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