(CN) – The National Labor Relations Board claims in court that Sterling Foods took extraordinary and illegal steps to stop union organizing, offering money to spies, surveilling and obstructing union sympathizers and firing six of them within 5 days.
The NLRB sued San Antonio-based Sterling Foods, a bakery company, in San Antonio Federal Court.
Though Sterling Foods LLC is the only named defendant, the NLRB names four Sterling bosses it accuses of participating in the illegal labor practices, a human resources director, a plant manager, a human resources assistant and a supervisor.
In September 2011, human resources manager Francisco Montejano threatened to fire employees engaged in union activities, “solicited an employee to surveil and report other employee’s union activities,” and “offered an employee financial benefit if he reported the union activities of employees,” the NLRB says in its complaint.
to report on the activities.
Then in March this year, the NLRB says, “[human resources director] Francisco Montejano and other unknown managers and/or agents, at respondent’s facility: (1) engaged in surveillance by photographing employee union activities; (2) engaged in surveillance of employee union activities by constant presence and monitoring in close proximity to the union activity and obstruction of employee access to the union activity; and (3) prohibited employees from accepting union literature and directed employees to throw away union literature.”
Sterling fired six employees from Sept. 22 to Sept. 27, 2011, the complaint states.
The target union was the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 455.
The NLRB seeks an injunction to stop Sterling from firing employees engaging in union activity, soliciting employees to report on union activities of others, and engaging in camera surveillance, among other things.
Founded in 1971, Sterling Foods provides bakery products to large branded food companies, national restaurant chains, supermarkets and club stores. In 2007, it acquired Azusa, Calif.-based Buena Vista Foods, giving it a substantial share of the K-12 school food business in the Western United States, according to its website.