Union Foolishly Persists, Wasting Time and Resources

In 2011, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and its co-conspirators started invading Maryland Walmart stores and harassing customers and staff. Perhaps the UFCW thought it could get away with its outrageous behavior in a union-friendly state or that the federal courts would weigh in on its behalf. But, either way, it was in for a series of surprises.

The UFCW claims that it launched this campaign of harassment to improve working conditions for Walmart employees and that it does not wish to represent Walmart workers itself. Of course, since the UFCW is at least as honest as any unscrupulous used car salesman, its claims may or may not be accurate.

During this campaign, which went on for several years, the UFCW would assemble “flash mobs” to block traffic, block check-out lanes, sing, dance, scream, use bullhorns indoors, litter, confront managers, force their way into management meetings, etc. UFCW protesters would then refuse to leave as they were instructed to do by Walmart managers. The police would be called, and they would order the protesters to leave.

In response to this harassment, Walmart lawyers repeatedly sent cease and desist letters to the UFCW; and the union stubbornly refused to honor them. So, in March of 2013, Walmart filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the union of coercing Walmart employees to join the union.

In September of 2013, Walmart filed a lawsuit against the UFCW for trespassing and nuisance in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County. The UFCW filed a motion to dismiss the case, which was denied. Walmart requested a preliminary injunction preventing the union from trespassing on company property; the UFCW argued that the state’s trespassing law was preempted by federal labor law. Rejecting the union’s argument, the court issued a preliminary injunction just before Black Friday in 2013 and a permanent injunction in early 2015.

The permanent injunction prohibited UFCW from entering Walmart property in Maryland for the purpose of “picketing, patrolling, parading, demonstrations, chanting, ‘flash mobs,’ handbilling, solicitation, customer disruptions, manager delegations or confrontations, or associate engagement for a non-shopping purpose.” The injunction also prohibited

“Interfering with, obstructing or blocking Walmart’s and its customers’ access to, and use of, easements and/or right-of-ways granted by  Walmart across or upon apron sidewalks and parking lots adjacent to stores for which Walmart has a “building only” lease; and engaging in any nuisance conduct off Walmart’s private property which disrupts and/or interferes with Walmart customers’ or associates’ access to, or ability to move around or exit, Walmart private property…”

Hoping for a more favorable ruling, the UFCW appealed the circuit court’s decision to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. That court unanimously affirmed the lower court’s ruling.

Still not able to accept that it was wrong, the UFCW appealed to the highest court in the state, the Court of Appeals. Late last month, the court handed down its decision. Once again, the UFCW’s arguments were found to be without merit, and the Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the ruling of the Court of Special Appeals. In other words, the UFCW’s lawyers could not persuade even one of the seven judges on the Court of Appeals – whether appointed by a Republican or a Democrat – to side with the union.

For over three years, the UFCW spent its members’ money paying lawyers to fight a losing battle with Walmart in Maryland courts, and the union has absolutely nothing to show for it. Of course, the union tried its shenanigans at Walmart stores in a number of other states. And judges from California to Ohio to Florida also told the UFCW to stop trespassing on Walmart property.

Throughout its fight with Walmart, the UFCW has behaved shamefully: trespassing; harassing customers, employees, and management; ignoring cease and desist letters; and then defending its outrageous behavior year after year in the courts. It’s time for the UFCW to learn and follow the law, and stop wasting its members’ money – along with taxpayers’ money – on frivolous litigation.

In 2011, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and its co-conspirators started invading Maryland Walmart stores and harassing customers and staff. Perhaps the UFCW thought it could get away with its outrageous behavior in a union-friendly state or that the federal courts would weigh in on its behalf. But, either way, it […]






Why Doesn’t the UFCW Respect Women?

Since last year, Mickey Kasparian, the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135, and his lackeys have been accused of discrimination and/or mistreatment by not one, not two, not three, but four Hispanic women. Three of these four accusers worked directly for the UFCW; a fourth works for a UFCW-funded organization.

Last December, Sandy Naranjo, a UFCW organizer, filed a lawsuit against UFCW Local 135 alleging gender discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination. This was a shocking turn of events, given the fact that she had previously viewed her job as a “dream job.” In her lawsuit, she alleges that “Kasparian created a work environment that was particularly hostile toward women.” Kasparian had fired this woman shortly before Christmas — while she was recovering from a work-related car accident.

As bad as those allegations are, the most troubling allegations are from Isabel Vasquez who filed a lawsuit against Kasparian and UFCW Local 135 for sexual harassment just a few days before Christmas last year. She claims that Kasparian repeatedly demanded that she have sexual relations with him. At one point, a co-worker interrupted one of these sexual acts, but nothing was done, and the harassment continued. Last year, after more than a decade of abuse, she decided to retire early from the UFCW. In her lawsuit, she further alleges that Kasparian sexually harassed another woman in 2011. After this woman’s husband found out about the harassment and beat up Kasparian, she too was fired.

In February, a local paper called on Kasparian to step down. At an anti-Kasparian protest that month, another woman who had worked for the UFCW for nearly a decade accused Kasparian of making “everybody [in the office] feel fearful of losing their jobs.”

After expressing support for Vasquez, Anabel Arauz, a UFCW organizer, was fired in March of this year. The following month, she also filed a lawsuit against UFCW Local 135 and Kasparian alleging discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. In her lawsuit, she referred to the union and Kasparian’s “demonstrated animus, bias, and discriminatory intent/conduct against women.”

Also in March – Women’s History Month – Nohelia Ramos Campos filed a complaint against the San Diego chapter of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), which is funded by the UFCW. In her complaint, she accused her employer of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Specifically, she alleged that a superior pressured her to support Kasparian and mentioned that Kasparian had threatened the UFCW’s funding of ACCE over her comments on social media in support of Kasparian’s accusers.

While serving as the president of UFCW Local 135, Kasparian was also the president of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, a group of local unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO. In May, Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, ordered the removal of Kasparian from the leadership of the labor council and placed the organization into receivership.

While one might guess that Kasparian would have taken his removal from the labor council presidency as a sign that it was time for him to resign from the leadership of his union, that was certainly not the case. Instead, the shameless Kasparian announced the creation of a rival labor council the day after his removal; this new labor council’s membership included SEIU Local 221 and several other unions. And through it all, the local Democrat Party leadership has continued to support Kasparian.

All of which leads to one question: how many more women will have to speak out about their mistreatment by Kasparian before the UFCW and its allies start taking women seriously?

Since last year, Mickey Kasparian, the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135, and his lackeys have been accused of discrimination and/or mistreatment by not one, not two, not three, but four Hispanic women. Three of these four accusers worked directly for the UFCW; a fourth works for a UFCW-funded organization. Last […]






“Poor Representation”

 Due to “poor representation,” the UFCW badly lost a decertification vote in California

Workers at Hiji Bros., Inc. and Seaview Growers Inc., both based in Oxnard, cast ballots to decertify and replace the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 with the UFW.

The vote came down to 111 for the UFW, 61 for UFCW Local 5 and 6 for no-union.

A petition to decertify the UFCW was filed with the farm labor board last week and signed by about 80 percent of the workers who complained about poor representation.

 Due to “poor representation,” the UFCW badly lost a decertification vote in California Workers at Hiji Bros., Inc. and Seaview Growers Inc., both based in Oxnard, cast ballots to decertify and replace the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 with the UFW. The vote came down to 111 for the UFW, 61 for UFCW […]






UFCW Official Tries to Kill Jobs

Peggy Vines, a UFCW vice president in Washington State, is trying to keep a new Winco grocery store from opening. Supposedly, the reason is due to traffic concerns. But, of course, the store is non-union, and this is the third proposed Winco store to be opposed by people connected with the UFCW. Winco is also employee-owned, but that’s not enough for Vines.

Peggy Vines, a UFCW vice president in Washington State, is trying to keep a new Winco grocery store from opening. Supposedly, the reason is due to traffic concerns. But, of course, the store is non-union, and this is the third proposed Winco store to be opposed by people connected with the UFCW. Winco is also […]






Disrespecting Workers

norton rose fulbrightWorkers at a Canadian marijuana-growing facility voted against joining the UFCW, but the union asked the provincial government to impose union membership on the workers. The government declined to do so.

Despite MedReleaf’s objections, the OLRB [Ontario Labor Relations Board] ordered that a vote be held. On June 1, 2015, a vote was held and the majority of MedReleaf’s employees voted against unionization. Despite the results of the vote, the UFCW persisted and filed unfair labour practice complaints, arguing for a remedial certification…

The OLRB dismissed all of the UFCW’s arguments…

 

Workers at a Canadian marijuana-growing facility voted against joining the UFCW, but the union asked the provincial government to impose union membership on the workers. The government declined to do so. Despite MedReleaf’s objections, the OLRB [Ontario Labor Relations Board] ordered that a vote be held. On June 1, 2015, a vote was held and […]






Stealing from a Student

nationalrighttoworkThe UFCW has been giving the runaround to a college student and part-time pharmacy employee. The student called the union to find out when he could resign from the union, but the union never responded. He followed up by writing a letter of resignation; the union rejected it because it wasn’t signed. The union finally accepted a second, signed letter, but it refused to stop deducting money from his check, claiming that his resignation was outside of some arbitrary 15-day “window period.” With assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, the student has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

The UFCW has been giving the runaround to a college student and part-time pharmacy employee. The student called the union to find out when he could resign from the union, but the union never responded. He followed up by writing a letter of resignation; the union rejected it because it wasn’t signed. The union finally […]






Disgraceful

Dirty tactics Comments Off

For years, the UFCW has run a shameful, illegal, and sometimes weird campaign against Walmart.

Courts and authorities in several states barred the UFCW and OUR Walmart from trespassing on company property. A Maryland judge, for example, declared that activists taking part in the anti-Walmart campaign had to post a $10,000 bond that would be forfeited “for the payment of any damage” if they refused to obey an injunction. Walmart also sued to keep labor activists out of its Florida locations after the UFCW continued to illegally trespass in stores, disrupt customers, and even use crude tactics such as handing “a rotten pumpkin painted in support of OUR Walmart” to a store manager in Orlando.

A Texas appeals court ruled that the labor unions and protesters behind the mass demonstrations at Walmart had to face trespassing allegations. The company filed suit last year after the UFCW and OUR Walmart repeatedly entered stores, ignored no-solicitation signs, blocked access to parking lots, screamed through bullhorns, and staged flash mobs. As a result of protests in Michigan, the National Labor Relations Board ordered the UFCW to stop “restraining and coercing employees” while protesting. According to an NRLB complaint from 2014, two UFCW officials stormed into a Dearborn store’s electronics department with “50 to 80 unknown individuals” and interfered with shoppers while intimidating employees. Eight other protesters, including one man, then barged into the women’s restroom and “coercively interrogated an employee regarding her wages, hours and working conditions.”

In fact, court rulings and findings by the NLRB forced the union to issue a public disclaimer pledging to not enter Walmart property except to shop in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, and Texas. In other words, courts across the country agreed that the UFCW’s methods as exercised through OUR Walmart were unlawful.

By admin On May 15, 2015 Dirty tactics Comments Off For years, the UFCW has run a shameful, illegal, and sometimes weird campaign against Walmart. Courts and authorities in several states barred the UFCW and OUR Walmart from trespassing on company property. A Maryland judge, for example, declared that activists taking part in the anti-Walmart […]