NLRB Holds That Union Engaged in Union Busting Against Its Own Workers - American Society of Employers - Michael Burns

NLRB Holds That Union Engaged in Union Busting Against Its Own Workers

In the category of what’s good for the goose is good for the gander we have the pro-union National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently finding the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union engaged in a myriad of unfair labor practices with its own unionized staff who are members of FAIR. (Yes, unions have unions.)

In fact, unions organizing union staff is pretty common. Labor Union News currently reports there are three different unions competing to organize the Teamsters’ International Representatives. What makes the UFCW case a man bites dog story is how the UFCW uses every tactic it reviles employers use to prevent unionization.

Earlier this month, NLRB Administrative Law Judge Eleanor Laws found Local 7 of the UFCW (23,000 members strong) and its President engaged in a number of unfair labor violations during contract negotiations by unilaterally changings its working conditions, retaliating against its own unionized employees, and working to undermine employee support for their union as well as engaging in bad faith bargaining.

Seems that during its negotiations with its workers’ union and when the UFCW staff (FAIR union members) turned down a contract offer made by the UFCW, the union and its president went all Bougie Capitalist Fat Cat on its employees. It started by demanding the return of the employees’ work equipment and requiring them to check their work equipment in and out each day instead.  They took the union credit cards from some employees and forced them to expend their own money and get later reimbursed. Further, the UFCW local union President made misleading statements against the employee union’s leadership in an attempt to undermine that union and its position. And lastly, the UFCW began stalling the filing of worker grievances by the workers’ union.

The UFCW went on to tell employees they could work elsewhere or resign if they did not like their working conditions. The UFCW also acted unilaterally to remove a secretarial classification from the bargaining unit.

A review of the facts stated in the NLRB decision found the UFCW reacted to its employee complaints as it often alleges those mean old employers act when dealing with striking workers – with threats and distain. How the worm does turn when the shoe is on the other foot. The UFCW’s President Kim Cordova went so far as to change the organization’s dress code during negotiations in response to the union employees dressing in maroon to show their support for its union’s contract negotiations. This particular allegation was dismissed by the Judge because the UFCW showed the dress code change was in the works before the bargaining started.

In finding against the UFCW, the NLRB Judge ordered the UFCW to stop its unfair labor practices noted above, reinstitute those policies and practices the UFCW changed, and issued an affirmative bargaining order. An affirmative bargaining order bars the employer (UFCW) from challenging majority status and insulates the employee union (FAIR) from the “consequences that the UFCW caused, and helps to prevent further disaffection …” The NLRB also ordered the hanging of a “shame” poster in union offices stating it would henceforth not do what it did.

Once the smell of union hypocrisy clears the room, may we suggest to the UFCW and you, our fair-minded employers, that getting an education on the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) is as simple as attending one of ASE’s two labor training classes. ASE provides classes to educate management and HR/labor professionals on the NLRA and remaining union free – a couple of topics the UFCW appears to need help with.

ASE Connect

National Labor Relations Act Overview
April 11, 2024 | 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Troy, MI

This course provides a basic overview to companies of all different sizes and across all different industries about the basic rules, requirements, and impact that the National Labor Relations Act has on the management of their workforces. Participants will learn what the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) is, common issues that arise in the workplace that involve the NLRA, best practices for complying with the NLRA, and other aspects of the NLRA that employers need to know.



UFCW and Federation of Agents and International Representatives, et. al (Cases 27-CA-298239,301489,303052,298873)

Labor Union News NLRB Judge Finds Large UFCW Local Engaged in Union Busting Against its Own Union Workers (2/13/2024)

Labor Union News. Three Different Unions Compete to Unionize Teamsters’ International Representatives (2/16/2024)


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