SAN ANTONIO (CN) – Sterling Foods, a bakery, agreed to settle claims that it fired union sympathizers, offered money to spies and tried to stop the organizing of 500 employees at its San Antonio plant, the the National Labor Relations Board said.
Sterling will pay more than $58,000 in back pay and interest to six fired employees, three of whom have accepted offers of reinstatement, the NLRB said Tuesday.
The NLRB sued the company in Federal Court this month, seeking an injunction to stop the illegal union busting.
Though Sterling Foods was the only named defendant, the NLRB named four Sterling bosses it accused of 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 said in its complaint.
Then in March this year, “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,” according to the NLRB complaint.
Sterling fired the six employees in September, 2011, the complaint stated.
The target union was the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 455.
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.
Under the settlement, Sterling Foods agreed not to engage in such unfair labor practices, to post a notice to that effect at the facility, and to mail a copy of the notice to all employees.