UFCW Stands by its Man

All across the country, powerbrokers in Hollywood, in the media, and in politics, are resigning or being shoved aside as sexual harassment allegations against them surface. Yet, the UFCW continues to stand by its man, Mickey Kasparian, nearly a year after sexual harassment allegations against him first broke. Kasparian is the powerful boss of a UFCW local in Southern California.

Last December, a former UFCW staffer filed a lawsuit alleging that she had suffered gender discrimination and wrongful termination by Kasparian. Shortly thereafter, another former UFCW staffer sued Kasparian alleging that he had sexually harassed her for years. In the following weeks, a third UFCW staffer was demoted and then sent out of state; she viewed this treatment as punishment for her support of one of the other accusers. After her firing in March of this year, this third UFCW staffer filed a complaint with the State of California alleging gender discrimination against Kasparian’s union. Also in March, a fourth woman filed a complaint with the state alleging that her organization, which was funded by the UFCW, had engaged in gender discrimination against her due to her support for the other alleged victims and her refusal to support Kasparian.

In spite of all of these allegations, the UFCW International is unmoved; a UFCW International spokeswoman recently stated,

“With respect to the other issues [presumably including the allegations of sexual harassment], they have been addressed directly by President Kasparian and by an internal committee led by female leaders of the local. The internal review, which was conducted independent of President Kasparian, reflects some of the significant steps that the local has taken to address these questions.

“Additionally, by every measure, President Kasparian has the strong support of his members. In his years as president, he has promoted female leaders and encouraged a positive and diverse work environment, while holding all staff accountable to the high standards our members expect and deserve.”

It seems odd that the national UFCW organization would be content with a local “review” of multiple, serious allegations against a powerful local union boss — if it were truly interested in truth and justice for its staffers and members.

Perhaps the women will be able to get justice next year.

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