by Industrial Workers of the World/Press Release
Workers at the Honest Weight Food Co-operative in Albany have been engaged in an effort to unionize the store for almost two years. Yet many concerns have been ignored by the management of the Co-op, which, ironically, prides itself on its community centered mission to create economic fairness and promote more equitable ways of living. Most recently, workers have formed a minority union at Honest Weight through the Upstate NY General Membership Branch (GMB) of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
In January, union members met with Honest Weight’s management to discuss their grievances. Among them were the need for a $15 minimum wage for workers at Honest Weight, the restoration of lost holidays, improved parental leave policies, more accessible health insurance, and job security. One worker spoke up about being removed from the schedule in the weeks leading up to the due date for their expected child. His manager claimed that not having an exact due date was too unpredictable to have him placed on the schedule. They were only returned to work after repeatedly calling store management, while losing almost a week of paid work. The same worker was later fired after allegedly underpaying for a coffee drink. Evidence was never provided.
Under the National Labor Relations Act, it’s unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for participating in protected concerted activity, such as organizing a group of workers to speak up to management about common grievances. The union demands the fired worker’s reinstatement in a different department, back pay, changes to the policy regarding the internal appeals process, and a “bottomless mug” policy for all employees.
The IWW will be holding a family friendly Picket & Memorial Day Picnic (Picketnic) outside of the Honest Weight Food- Co-op, to protest this wrongful termination, and to highlight the holidays taken from workers without their input, along with the need for a living wage and job security. The picket is scheduled to begin at 11:30 AM outside of Honest Weight on Memorial Day. All workers are invited to come, share free food and stand in solidarity with picketing workers. This picket is endorsed by: The Solidarity Committee of the Capital District and Food Not Bombs of Albany NY.
For more information, please contact:
Greg Giorgio -Albany.firstname.lastname@example.org, (518) 861 – 5627
For anyone in Utica interested in driving out to support the action, please contact: Brendan Maslauskas Dunn, email@example.com, (315) 240-3149