Farmer Joe’s & Friends

All about Farmer Joe’s Marketplace

30 Days

UFCW Local 5 is not at the store for 30 days, harassing everybody. According to this article that ran in the Contra Costa times on Septmber 21, 2007, “There should be a cooling off period to ensure that all parties are working towards an atmosphere where negotiations can be constructive,” Paul Rose, spokesman for Mayor Ron Dellums’ office said. “In a statement, the union said attempts to unionize stores that serve ethnic communities, including Farmer Joe’s and Super Mercado Market, have failed because of its common ‘confrontational approach.’” Ya think?So, let me get this straight. We’re supposed to be “cooling off” after UFCW local 5 called for a boycott at Farmer Joe’s, attempting to break their bottom line when that grocery has been the best thing for this neighborhood in a long, long time. The union harassed, threatened, and lied to the store and the whole community for the last 8 months. In other words, we were attacked, but now we’re supposed to act like everything is cool. Umm, sure. The article goes on to say, “The union will employ a new strategy to convince stores that a partnership would be of mutual interest to the store owners, employees and the community. There will be no picketing, boycotting or leafleting at the Fruitvale store during the cooling off period.”But I guess it’s okay for the union to leave this button up on their web site’s home page. It’s still clickable and urges UFCW members to wander over to store and rally every Friday yelling, “Boycott this place” at Farmer Joe’s shoppers. And I guess it is still okay to for them get on this blog and leave harassing comments I have to delete. I guess really what’s okay is what has always been okay with the UFCW – lies, threats, and harassment.Richard Cowan from Jean Quan’s office is quoted in the article that he hopes “the union uses the cooling-off period to win community support.” Win community support? Does Richard assume the community can be bought off with cheap trinkets? Maybe Halloween candy. Or perhaps he thinks the community has a bad memory or maybe did not experience first hand what the union did day after day. The truth is the community did. They lived through it, supporting the store every step of the way. I wish I could say the same for Richard and Jean. Since I don’t think either of them have seen the real ugliness of the day-to-day harassment, I’m posting some video.This video is a professional UFCW local 5 organizer on his typical day at Farmer Joe’s. The security guard asks the organizer to step away from the entrance because he is attempting to block shoppers from entering the store. The security guard says the organizer’s actions are “going to lead to confrontation.” The organizer replies, “It doesn’t matter.” At one point, the person shooting the video asks the organizer what the zip code is. He doesn’t know. He has no idea. He comes from out of town to disrupt our neighborhood. The organizer says that the man shooting this film hates Mexicans. Sometimes he would harass and threaten shoppers to the point we would call the police. When the police arrived, he would tell them we hated Mexicans and we were racists. He would tell the police we threatened and harassed him. All the statements were common lies the organizer used in his day-to-day rhetoric. In the video, he yells, “Boycott. Boycott. Boycott. Support workers’ rights” and yet his union has never asked for representation of a single employee at the store or there would have been an NLRB election. According to the NLRB, Farmer Joes’s petition for an election was dismissed because “Although Local 5’s actions appear to be part of its attempt to organize the Employer’s employees, there is no evidence that it has ever demanded that the Employer recognize it as a majority representative of its employees.”

UPDATES:

10/3/2007 The union’s boycott button was removed today from their web site’s home page, but this is still on their dues refund page. I can’t decide if they’re deliberately being ornery or their web developer needs to be fired, or both.Then this appeared on their news pages. ”Local 5 President Ron Lind stated ‘the union is prepared to meet any time and any place to resolve the issues that effect Farmer Joe’s Worker’s and the community.’” Excuse me? Issues that affect the community? You and your hommies are the ones driving from San Jose to Oakland to cause the ruckus over here. You are “The Issue.”

September 27, 2007 Posted by | Local 5, UFCW, union, union harassment | 3 Comments

WTF, Local 5?

This article came out in the Contra Costa Times today. And I quote:

Last month, the Tams filed a complaint against the union with the National Labor Relations Board, charging it with illegal picketing. They contended that the union has picketed more than 30 days without petitioning the NLRB to become a collective bargaining representative for the stores’ employees.“The union has been picketing and boycotting to force us to unionize,” said Diana Tam.The case was scheduled for a hearing before the NLRB but the union agreed on a settlement to not picket.“We agreed to something we weren’t doing anyway,” said union spokesman Mike Henneberry. “We’re not picketing, we’re leafleting.”

WTF, dude? You agreed to something you weren’t doing? Since when? Merriam-Webster defines picket as “a person posted by a labor organization at a place of work affected by a strike; also: a person posted for a demonstration or protest.” AND you had an agreement with the NLRB to NOT picket. Yet here ya are Wednesday doing the big nasty in front of the store standing right next to the UFCW local 5 organizer with the bullhorn.My suggestion to you is to go buy yourself a dictionary, or at least a little integrity.

September 21, 2007 Posted by | Idiotic, Local 5, NLRB, Oakland, picket, UFCW, union, union harassment | 3 Comments

Picketing the Plywood

I have to give the whole UFCW local 5 theatrical scene yesterday a two thumbs down. First, they started late. The union’s “rally” was supposed to commence at 5pm. Local 5 has to drive in from out of town so someone is always holding up the show because of bad traffic. Finally, their “rally” got started with a little over twenty people – executive board members, paid organizers, and the hourly non-UFCW folks you’ve seen in the parking lot who don’t speak much English and don’t really care what’s happening. The manager of Pete’s popped her head out the door and told them to take the freak show away from her store. The “rally” walked down the sidewalk and was left circling in front of the plywood of the soon to be opened La Farine French Bakery across from Joe’s on Fruitvale Avenue. Their bullhorn broke.

I guess it was about that time I lost interest in the bad production. I walked back to Farmer Joe’s entrance and talked to customers. Some were laughing. Some were rolling their eyes. Some wanted harassment forms. All are sick of the union coming into our neighborhood and disturbing it. One shopper thought they were picketing the La Farine’s. I thought the person was kidding.

“Yeah, someone inside the unopened store called the UFCW,” I joked.

“Really?” she asked.

I shook my head though I wouldn’t put it past something local 5 would claim considering what they have said about Farmer Joe’s.

The only shining light to the whole afternoon was Saundra Andrews. She showed up from Barbara Lee’s office. She is the first and only person that has showed up in the trenches. She got a first hand view of the sideshow. She got to see how we get treated by local 5.

In all honesty, my attention had waned so there at the end, I don’t know if she stopped the “rally,” or local 5 stopped it, or the broken bullhorn stopped it. The next thing I knew the union was claiming they were taking the high road by calling off the boycott and the picketing. I squinted into the sun when they said this, not so much because the sun hurt my eyes but what they said hurt my brain. That’s kind of like saying, “I’m going to take the high road and quit beating my wife for a while.” Screwed up logic. Even while they were saying that, they had 2 organizers in Joe’s parking lot passing out leaflets with lies. Saundra Andrews called across the street to the UFCW and told them to get their boys out of Joe’s lot. The UFCW called back across to Joe’s lot and told the jokers to leave. Of course, they couldn’t just leave the premises. They intimated they were going to sue me for the blog as they strolled by. “Corn Dog, it’s gonna cost you,” the organizer sneered. “You better get your money ready.” That’s some high road.

So, I went and chatted with Saundra Andrews. I like her. She kicked two harassers out the parking lot by shouting across the street. She is a strong woman. She says her background is labor relations. She has a funny little car with a missing hubcap. Someone broke in it and stole the ashtrays looking for money. It is all Oakland. Can she help? I don’t know. She says she is interested in the workers and the small Oakland businesses.

She gave me her business card. She told me if I saw local 5 in the parking lot harassing, picketing, or passing out leaflets in the next 30 days to call her. I intend to, but I worry the union is using her. Local 5 needs 30 days right now to go off and fry bigger fish. According to their own web site, they are currently in contract negotiations in Northern California with the major grocery chains and things aren’t going well with Safeway. Does this mean they are going down the block and cause a big scene there? Another high road?

September 20, 2007 Posted by | Local 5, neighborhood, Oakland, picket, UFCW, union, union harassment | 2 Comments

Lawbreaking Liars

Another picture of the picketers in Joe’s parking lot. How long have the picketers been harassing us? Almost 7 months. The perverse thing about this snapshot is all these guys in this photo with orange leaflets are hourly workers, bought and paid for by the UFCW, but not belonging to the UFCW. It’s the latest in dirty tricks. It’s called “Outsourcing the Picket Line.”

And so it goes. Yesterday, I had a lady stop and ask me why the Tams weren’t allowing the employees to vote. I’m not even shocked any more when customers ask questions like these because I know where these misconceptions originate. I told the shopper the Tams had petitioned for an NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) secret ballot election for their employees but because UFCW local 5 has never asked to be recognized, the case was dismissed. She was stunned. I asked her who told her the lies, and she pointed at the folks in this photo with the orange boycott leaflets. Then I handed her this. Farmer Joe’s filed a petition for a secret ballot election so the employees could vote on whether they wanted a union or not, but according to the NLRB, “Although Local 5’s actions appear to be part of its attempt to organize the Employer’s employees, there is no evidence that it has ever demanded that the Employer recognize it as the majority representative of its employees.” The petition was dismissed.

“What are they still doing here then?” the customer asked.

I selected this info for her to read.

She read awhile. “I don’t get it,” she said.

“Get what?” I asked.

“How can they do this? Isn’t it illegal?”

I nodded. “You don’t know the half of it.”

September 5, 2007 Posted by | Local 5, UFCW, union, union harassment | 3 Comments

They’re back. They’re whack.

The harassment from UFCW local 5 continues. They’re wearing Friends of Farmer Joe’s T-shirts. They’re carrying propaganda with unauthorized Food Mill logos. They’ve printed their trivia on plastic coated paper so their garbage is not recyclable. They’re harassing senior and handicapped shoppers. On any given day, one of the organizers will tell the volunteers at the store they are racists and claim we have called him a “beaner.” We just stare at him, wondering why he is lying. Since no one is buying into his lies, he attempted to step it up a bit, and claimed we called him a “dirty, uncooked bean.” Okay, that one did make me laugh.

This picture is all UFCW local 5 organizers in the parking lot. They are like ants. All I could think of was a modification of that age-old joke – how many local 5 members does it take to screw Farmer Joe’s? For even more laughs, I picked up one of their discarded flyers out of a buggy today, and it read – I kid you not – “RESPECT THE WORKERS LAWFULL RIGHT TO UNINIZE.”

August 29, 2007 Posted by | Local 5, UFCW, union, union harassment | 4 Comments

Confused?

Confused? You have every right to be, even another UFCW organizer looks befuddled. One of the UFCW Local 5 folks showed up at the store today wearing a Friends of Farmer Joe’s green T-shirt. I don’t know why that surprised me, but it did. After all, they have claimed to be private investigators, California Healthy Communities Network, and the Food Mill. The progression was only natural. Now, they want to be store supporters. I guess anything is better than being the UFCW. The coup de grace is the bumper stickers plastered to the front and back of the shirt. Schizophrenic, dude. Umm, a little hint here, bumper stickers are for your vehicle, not for cotton T-shirts.

August 16, 2007 Posted by | front company, Idiotic, Local 5, T shirt, UFCW, union, union harassment | 3 Comments

Same Old Same Old

For those of you visiting the store on Friday, you may have been handed a flyer from the UFCW local 5 union members that had a Food Mill logo and branding on the top of the page. The leaflet goes on to say “Welcome To The Food Mill.” The reader would quite naturally deduce this was a newsletter from our neighbor and friend, the beloved Food Mill. On the back of this leaflet is union tripe, though, hence a give away it’s union made.

The Food Mill was contacted, and they would like to inform the community they had nothing whatsoever to do with this leaflet. They are concerned about the unauthorized use of their branding and logo, and are actively working to resolve this situation.

And here I thought the union was just going to harass Farmer Joe’s. I guess they’re striving to be a blight on the whole community.

July 28, 2007 Posted by | front company, Local 5, UFCW, union, union harassment | 1 Comment

It’s a Cwazy World

You have to read this to believe it.

And I quote, “Action Alameda and the California Healthy Communities Network (CHCN) are co-sponsoring a presentation about supporting local businesses on Tuesday, July 24th… This appears to be a part of a bay area speaking tour CHCN is putting together …

HUH?
California Healthy Communities Network is supporting local businesses??? Is this what CHCN calls support? Oh, puh-leeze.

UPDATES:

Why does this guy look familiar in the photo on the left? He was in the California Healthy Communities Network’s press conference. How did he support his local businesses today? By standing on Fruitvale Avenue at the entrance of Farmer Joe’s with his specially made banner.

July 25, 2007 Posted by | California Healthy Communities Network, front company, smear campaign, UFCW, union, union harassment | 1 Comment

Whas Up with the UFCW?

Punking, Bashing, and Bullying. Can you say, “Holy cucamonga?”

July 17, 2007 Posted by | front company, Local 5, Local 99, smear campaign, UFCW, union harassment | Leave a comment

Parking Lot Scuttle Butt

On Friday, July 13, 2007, UFCW local 5 was telling customers in Farmer Joe’s parking lot that a card check vote had been taken at the store and was not being honored. This is NOT true. No vote has been taken.

Farmer Joe’s agrees that the employees should be allowed to vote for the union or not, by secret anonymous election, not card check. Why? Because the union controls every aspect of card check. The union collects all the personal employee data. Considering this union’s track record, this option is out of the question.

So, another UFCW lie added to the stack today. Please help by downloading this form, filing it out, and mailing the top half to our District Representative Jean Quan, and the bottom half to Mayor Ron Dellums. Thank you.

July 13, 2007 Posted by | Local 5, smear campaign, UFCW, union, union harassment | Leave a comment

The (Non)Report

The health inspector came to Farmer Joe’s the day after the union scam, or should I call it, the sideshow. You remember the one – where UFCW local 5 claimed there was some tainted rotted spoiled whatevah in Farmer Joe’s grocery. As Ronald Browder, chief of the Alameda County Health Agency environmental protection division, said “We investigate all complaints, whether they are valid or not.” I forgot to post the inspection report because the union’s accusations were so obviously a lie and such a non-issue. Anyway, I’m finally remembering to post the report, if anyone’s still interested. The inspector found nothing at the little store and some stuff stored in boxes on the floor at the big store. The inspector said “Keep stack at least 6 inches off the floor. Correct by 5JUL07.” Done. No expired, moldy, out-of-date, zippity-do-da, dingle berries except in the UFCW’s minds. That union’s got quite an imagination. The next thing ya know, they’ll claim they invented Post-It notes.

July 10, 2007 Posted by | food, Local 5, smear campaign, UFCW, union, union harassment | 3 Comments

What’s Going On?

You may have run into these people at Farmer Joe’s. They are UFCW local 5 members, harassing customers as they come and go. The Tams are making every effort to work with the Oakland police department to keep them away from the storefront, and out of the fire lanes, making your shopping experience as pleasant as possible. Though the union members have been advised on numerous occasions to avoid these areas by our wonderful Officers Castillo, Hall, Hewitt, and Moreno, you can see from this photo taken on July 3, 2007, how it goes. If you feel threatened in any way, please do not hesitate to stop Diana, Joe, or an employee of the store and request they call Oakland PD.

On to a few questions shoppers are asking…

Q: Why is the union still here? We thought they would leave after the NLRB ruled in favor of Farmer Joe’s.
A: The union is not leaving because they want to unionize the store. They will falsely charge Joe’s with unfair labor practices, perpetrate smear campaigns, harass customers, and attempt to damage the store’s bottom line to achieve that goal.

Q: How much longer are they going to be here?
A: No one knows. The employees have the right to vote whether to be a union shop or not. The problem right now with the voting procedure is the union is refusing to allow an NLRB secret ballot election process and insisting on card check. Card check is run by the union and supplies the union with the employee’s personal data. Considering the current track record of this union, card check is out of the question.

Q: What about the union’s latest flyer – “It’s time to talk?”
A: It’s interesting. On one side it says, “Farmer Joe’s deserves to succeed…” and on the other side it states in bold letters “BOYCOTT FARMER JOE’S.” Go figure.

Well, one thing is for sure – these problems at our local grocery have been a unifying experience. Joe and Diana Tam have asked me to pass some words along to the Farmer Joe’s shoppers. They want me to tell all of you they how much they greatly appreciate your concern and to thank you again for your support.

July 5, 2007 Posted by | Local 5, questions, UFCW, union, union harassment | Leave a comment

Union Scam

KTVU, channel 2, aired this segment today on their 5 o’clock news. An organization claiming to be the California Healthy Communities Network said they found expired organic products at Farmer Joe’s. Funny. I shop there 2 or 3 times a week, and buy some of the same products featured in the story. I have never seen any expired products and I’m a stickler for freshness. So, what is this organization – California Healthy Communities Network? Looks like another union affiliation of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union out of Contra Costa County. Sigh. And Daniel J. Rush, the private investigator in the story? As recently as 12/12/06, Dan Rush was the political director for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local No. 120. Then there is this lady. She didn’t even bother to go home and change her clothes before driving straight to Joe’s to leaflet the store for her union, UFCW Local 5, that afternoon. I know. I recognized her. I was there. Finally, there’s this guy, Mr.Interested in the audience, at the press conference. Looks like Mike Henneberry, UFCW Local 5 Communications Director. For an interesting read on union smear tactics, click here. The article offers an explanation of what the union may have been trying to do, if they had been a little more adept.

UPDATES:

East Bay Express is asking all the right questions and investigating. Check out their article, published July 4, 2007.

This photo, a UFCW rally, was in front of the store May 11, 2007, immediately after the NLRB resolved all “unfair labor practice” accusations by the UFCW in favor of Farmer Joe’s. The “private investigator” for the latest smear campaign, Dan Rush, leads the pack. His business card is inset – the one he left at the store months ago. Kind of wild the store can keep track of one unimportant business card but according to the UFCW they can’t keep track of important expiration dates. Something’s rotted and it ain’t the food at Joe’s.

This shouldn’t have surprised anyone, but it did. The UFCW local 5 claimed the whole smear campaign as their rally on their home page. Their words – “rally.” That page only lasted a day or so before someone must have reminded them they were telling everyone they were not involved. Today, they call it their press conference, but it is still theirs and they forgot to change the caption on the picture, which still says “rally.” Tomorrow they will fix the picture caption to say…? I can’t predict. On and on it goes. It’s dizzying. There’s the private investigator, who is UFCW local 5’s special operations. Channel 2 claims California Healthy Communities Network, a union affiliate, sponsored the “project.” UFCW local 5 website claims California League of United Latino Citizens (LULAC) sponsored the press conference.
Round and round we go with names but the faces are all the same – that of UFCW local 5. Finally, they told the Oakland Tribune that Phil Tucker was the “project” director. As recently as June 7, 2006, the Oakland Tribune identified Phil Tucker as manager of special projects for UFCW local 1179. I guess my favorite part of the whole smear campaign came from the Trib article and I quote:
Network and union officials categorically rejected the suggestion the union was involved in the food project…” That line makes me laugh every time I read it.

The final photo was taken July 3, 2007. It’s the man of special ops UFCW local 5 or maybe it’s a “private investigator” or could be Mr. California Healthy Communities Network or here’s a new one – Sec-Treasurer of Instituto Laboral de la Raza. He’s leafleting Farmer Joes’s and shooting some video. He said the footage is for a film for Ron Dellums, the mayor of Oakland. I can only hope. We could sure use some one-on-one time with Mr. Dellums with all this disorganizing UFCW local 5 does at the store.

June 27, 2007 Posted by | California Healthy Communities Network, Dimond, front company, Local 5, Oakland, smear campaign, UFCW, union, union harassment | 4 Comments

   

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