Farmer Joe’s & Friends

All about Farmer Joe’s Marketplace


The MacArthur Metro has an enlightening article on the front page of their paper this month entitled, “Update on Union Activity at Farmer Joe’s.” The articles goes on to say…

“To be clear, the issue is not whether to unionize. It is also not about an unwillingness to sit down and work out the differences. The primary point of contention between Farmer Joe’s and the Union, one that has persisted since the opening of the second store, is about how to formally survey the employees’ views on representation.

According to the National Labor Relations Act ( Section 8 ) the UFCW must file a petition with the NLRB within thirty days of first picketing the store, stating the UFCW be recognized as the organization representing employees. The UFCW has not officially declared their wish to formally represent Farmer Joe’s employees; instead the UFCW’s position was made known to Farmer Joe’s ownership and employees through a third party.

Farmer Joe’s recently petitioned the NLRB to conduct a vote to determine if in fact the employees wanted union representation. The request was dismissed, citing ‘there is no evidence that it (the UFCW) has ever demanded that the Employer (Farmer Joe’s) recognize it (the UFCW) as the majority representative of its employees.’ For the purposes of collective bargaining, an employee representative must be designated for an NLRB vote to be held.

The UFCW persists with their request for a card check to determine if Local 5 represents a majority of the employees. The Tams maintain the card check violates their employees’ personal privacy rights and will not turn over the polling process to the UFCW.”

The Wall Street Journal also checks in with an interesting article entitled the “UAW’s Awakening” from September 29, 2007. The reporter states,

“We had a friendly visit not too long ago with Andy Stern, the Service Employees International Union President and perhaps the most successful modern labor leader.” The reporter continues “With Democrats now running Congress, and ahead in the Presidential polls, Mr. Stern and his union mates are closer than they’ve been in decades to seeing that agenda implemented. But they also reveal their own lack of faith in the appeal of unions when they support a ban on secret-ballot elections at work sites. And of course they still benefit–unlike anyone else in American politics–from being able to coerce the payment of dues.”

Ron Lind, President of Local 5 had this to say in Local 5’s last month’s newsletter (page 4) to his members.

“Union power has declined and with it, the contract conditions that our members work under. Local 5 members are no exception. The seven unions that merged to form our new union all employed the model, some to a greater extent than others.

The UFCW, along with other unions of the Change to Win Federation have embarked on different approach – a return to an organizing model that focuses the organization’s efforts on building power. I am committed to making Local 5 an example of this approach Servicing our members will still be a critical component of what we do, but increasingly, we will be shifting resources to organizing new members and building union power. Representatives have already been assigned larger territories and some have been reassigned to the organizing department. We intend to hire additional organizers in the coming months. Field representatives are being evaluated not just on how often they visit their stores and work sites, but on their ability to build a union presence and turn members out to events as well. We must work together to organize the non-union competitors in our industries to stop the erosion of our contracts.”

Okey dokey. I guess all that answers that question. The UFCW ain’t worrying about workers’ rights. They’re worrying about their declining power. I guess it’s only natural for them to try and take away secret-ballot elections. Could be their only hope?


October 2, 2007 - Posted by | Dimond, Local 5, Oakland, UFCW, union


  1. Another excellent post.

    Comment by worldphotos | October 2, 2007 | Reply

  2. I really love your blog and for the most part agree with you. I also feel that the harassment of Farmer Joe’s has gone on long enough. That having been said, this particular post feels very anti-union in general. I don’t think the problem is unions, so much as this particular group of people targeting Farmer Joe’s. Unions historically and currently do a great deal to secure benefits and rights for workers. Even non-union organizations benefit from the negotiations unions have made for other groups. It sounds like the Tams would be willing to support a union, if that is what their workers wanted. The problem is around how the workers are polled, and that seems to be the conflict. Again, overall I really love your blog and I am glad someone is shedding light on the hypocricy of this particular union’s tactics.

    Comment by Meredith | October 3, 2007 | Reply

  3. It’s sad the tactics the UFCW employs. Have you checked these recent developments or these? Some companies are fighting back against the harassment, slander, and lies. Seems to come in all forms too and impersonations. May the research analysts unite us all here for truth.

    Comment by Dimond Resident | March 28, 2008 | Reply

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