Westchester representatives call for boycott of Mrs. Green’s

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Westchester Legislator Peter Harckham, D-North Salem, is among several officials calling for a boycott of Mrs. Green’s Natural Market stores in Westchester because of what he said was unfair labor practices.

Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, D-Yonkers, also supports the boycott and walked the picket line Saturday at the Mount Kisco store, said Joseph Fedele of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, which is trying to organize the store.

The supermarket has been accused of using threats and coercion to stop employees from unionizing and retaliating against union supporters.

“Mrs. Green’s mission statement says they are ‘dedicated to health and sustainability’, yet they have a double standard when it comes to their workers right to earn a sustainable wage and to collectively bargain,” said Harckham, who walked the picket line Wednesday, in a statement. “I call on all fair minded people in Westchester to boycott all Mrs. Green’s locations in Westchester until they hire back the fired workers, and respect their workers lawful right to organize.”

The workers filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board shortly before a union vote in May and a settlement was reached in November. But in mid-January, Mrs. Green’s, which specializes in natural and organic food and has nine stores in the lower Hudson Valley, fired nine workers who had supported the union on the grounds of poor customer service, organizers said. The union reopened the NLRB claim charging that the firings were in retaliation for the organizing effort.

The May vote fell three short of the number needed to unionize the store.

In the November settlement, the company agreed to post a letter in its Mount Kisco store promising workers that it would not engage in unfair labor practices, including questioning employees about their union activities, bad-mouthing unions and threatening to fire employees who support a union.

Workers have been picketing since the firings in mid-January.

Representatives of the Natural Markets Food Group could not be reached Thursday.

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  1. Nothing like seeing workers fired and intimidated to deter someone from voting for a union contract to gain some respect and some meager benefits. Sad that since the Natural Markets Food Group purchased Mrs Green’s that conditions and treatment has gotten so bad that union efforts even had to begin.
    And the actions of Natural Markets Food Group testifies to the need for worker protections from false accusations of “poor customer service”. Many of the workers at Mrs Greens have been working in some cases more than 10 years at Mrs Green’s.