Farmer Joe’s & Friends

All about Farmer Joe’s Marketplace

Lost in Translation?

Jean’s Address to the Community

Jean Quan’s electronic newsletter dated October 6, 2007, said

”FARMER JOES MEDIATION: As reported in the local media our office, Mayor Dellums, Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee are working jointly to bring both sides together in the Farmer Joe’s dispute. The management and union have never met face to face for direct discussion. To establish a cooling off period, we asked the United Food and Commercial Workers to call off their boycott; they ended picketing 2 weeks ago. We now expect to meet with both sides this week — a small but important step we should all encourage.” 

The Facts

The local media carried this story in both the Contra Costa Times and the Oakland Tribune on 9/21/07. It talks about the “confrontational approach” the UCFW local 5 took towards trying to unionize Farmer Joe’s. The union’s picketing and harassment forced Farmer Joe’s to file a charge against Local 5 with the NLRB, case #32-CP-490, on 7/19/07. The NLRB found the case had merit and filed a complaint against UFCW local 5. A federal hearing was scheduled for October 10, 2007 against the union for unfair labor practices. On September 10, 2007, the NLRB reported UFCW local 5 executed an informal settlement agreement to cease all picketing and publicly acknowledge they would refrain from illegal activity. Then on September 19, UFCW local 5 picketed in front of the store despite their settlement agreement. The NLRB is currently deciding how to proceed, considering the union’s latest bad faith demonstration.The MacArthur Metro’s lead story this month “Update at Union Activity at Farmer Joe’s,” said

“Misinformation on this dispute abounds and continues to be propagated. 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. 

On September 14, 2007 Mayor Dellums wrote a letter to Ron J. Lind, UFCW Local 5 and the Tams of Farmer Joe’s. In that letter, he wrote,

“As Public Officials we (Mayor Dellums, Congress Member Barbara Lee, State Assembly Member Sandre Swanson, Councilmember Jean Quan) all stand firmly in favor of small local business enterprise and are keenly aware that such enterprises contribute greatly to the development of Oakland’s unique neighborhoods. At the same time, we are also in support of the rights of workers to freely organize.” 

The Tams petitioned the NLRB to conduct a vote to determine if in fact the employees wanted union representation. The request was dismissed August 3, 2007, 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.” The MacArthur Metro elaborated,

”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.” 

It is noteworthy that the UFCW’s latest bad faith demonstration took place after their receipt of this letter from our public officials requesting a “cooling off period be established.”


October 9, 2007 - Posted by | Dimond, Local 5, neighbor, neighborhood, NLRB, Oakland, politicians

1 Comment »

  1. Things are getting stranger and stranger.

    Comment by worldphotos | October 10, 2007 | Reply

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