Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Feds Order Berkeley Bowl to Hold New Union Vote

By Judith Scherr
Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Workers at the Berkeley Bowl on Oregon Street have a shot at restoring their union. The National Labor Relations Board ruled that the June 2010 vote that decertified the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 5 was improper and that the election must be re-run.

"There were so many violations [including] intimidating workers and spying on them," said Mike Henneberry, communications director for United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 5.

The December 30 agreement between management at the bowl and the union includes requiring the store to post a notice to employees "requiring the company to cease and desist from punishing its employees for participating in union activities" and to create an atmosphere in which a new election can be held, according to Henneberry.

The notice that will be posted at the bowl includes the statement: "We will not assign you more onerous work or isolate you from your co-workers because of your support for [the union]; we will not create the impression that we are spying on you by monitoring your union activity during non-working time, in non-working areas, including the Cafe-Deli break area. ..."

The new election will take place in about seventy days, possibly around March 23, Henneberry said. Workers at Berkeley Bowl West have not been unionized. Winning back the union at the Oregon Street store — in place since 2004 — will help organizing efforts at the new site, Henneberry said. In June, the Berkeley City Council voted to oppose efforts to decertify the union.

Berkeley Bowl management did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

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