NLRB Says Food Giant Hassles Union Workers

PHOENIX (CN) – Multibillion-dollar Shamrock Foods, the largest dairy in the Southwest, threatens, spies on and fires employees for supporting their union, the National Labor Relations Board claims in court.
     NLRB Regional Director Cornele A. Overstreet sued Shamrock Foods Co. on Tuesday in Federal Court.
     Shamrock Foods is ranked 185 on Forbes list of America’s largest private companies. It reported $2.43 billion in revenue in 2014. It calls itself the largest dairy in the Southwest and the nation’s seventh-largest food service distributor, on its Internet home page. It had 3,186 employees in 2014 and is based in Phoenix, according to Forbes.
     Its violations of the National Labor Relations Act at its Phoenix plant included watching employees talk during breaks “and immediately asking them what they were discussing,” the NLRB says.
     The lawsuit names 16 managers, including the CEO, and claims they threatened employees for supporting the union by, among other things, “interrogating employees about their protected activities; spying on its employees as they engage in protected activities and making employees believe that their protected activities are constantly under surveillance.”
     The workers’ union is the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers’ and Grain Millers International Union, Local Union No. 232, AFL-CIO.
     The NLRB claims that Shamrock Foods fired one “prominent union supporter” for his activities and issued “discriminatory discipline” to another union man.
     Its human resources manager “solicit(ed) employee complaints and grievances, [and] promised its employees increased benefits and improved terms and conditions of employment if its employees refrained from union organizational activity,” according to the complaint.
     To sum it up, Shamrock “has been discriminating in regard to the hire or tenure or terms or conditions of employment of its employees, thereby discouraging membership in a labor organization,” the complaint states.
     Shamrock Foods will continue to violate the National Labor Relations Act unless the court grants immediate injunctive relief, the NLRB says.
     Overstreet is regional director for NLRB Region 28, based in Phoenix, which serves areas in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas.
     The NLRB wants Shamrock Foods ordered to stop violating labor laws and reinstate the fired employee.
     In addition to CEO Kent McClelland, the 16 respondent managers include the vice president of food service operations, the HR director and manager, shift supervisors, floor “captains” and others.
     Shamrock said it does not comment on pending litigation.
     The NLRB’s attorney is Judith Davila.

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