Farmworkers were rebuffed again by Kroger and Wendy’s but persist with a program to advance the rights of workers and to address the ethical supply chain concerns of retailers.
The struggle to escape poverty in Cincinnati played out in front of Great American Tower on Saturday, when about 200 janitorial workers, represented by Service Employees International Union Local 1, rallied for better wages and protested the use of nonunion contractors to clean buildings like Great American Tower, home to the city’s premier Class A office space.
A federal judge found that Blue Ash-based AdvancePierre Foods disciplined employees in retaliation for their union activities, conducted unlawful surveillance of employee union activity, and in other ways unlawfully interfered in the rights of employees to unionize about 600 workers at its West Chester plant in 2015.
AdvancePierre–a producer and distributor of sandwich products with about 4,100 employees, all non-union, in 11 locations and $1.6 billion in net sales–is appealing the decision. The company’s July 25 appeal takes exception to all the proposed remedies and the recommended order in the judge’s decision.
Each year since 2010, a delegation of farmworkers and their allies has asked The Kroger Co. to use the company’s substantial purchasing power to help protect workers from abuse in the tomato fields of Florida. Every year the world’s third largest retailer has refused.
On June 23, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and their supporters will ask again, when Kroger convenes its annual stockholder meeting at Music Hall.
“The union tent is a big tent,” says Pete McLinden, head of the Cincinnati Labor Council, the umbrella organization for 128 local unions, representing 100,000 members in Southwest Ohio.
There is room for many different ideas and political affiliations, says McLinden, who also strives to build working relationships with those outside the tent.
Working families came together at Coney Island Sep. 7 for Cincinnati AFL-CIO’s annual Labor Day picnic. The event drew about 10,000 attendees, according to Jim Christmann with Coney Island.
by Mike Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org
Though employees are protesting stagnant wages and deteriorating working conditions at the AdvancePierre Foods plant in West Chester, they want the company’s majority owner in Los Angeles, Oaktree Capital Management L.P., a private equity firm, to hear them.
Employees say Oaktree is pulling the strings at AdvancePierre and is looking to sell the company. Fearing they were not being heard, employees asked the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 75 in March to help unionize workers at the plant on Princeton-Glendale Road. Employees say the company has illegally obstructed those efforts.
2015 is the sixth year that CIW has come to the Kroger shareholder meeting in Cincinnati asking the company to join the Fair Food Program and uphold the program’s high ethical standards in the US tomato supply chain.