Following Farmer Joe's 

Back to Business?

Dimond District grocery store Farmer Joe's appears to be the winner in its most recent legal battle with the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

The National Labor Relations Board announced in a letter to the store's owners that it was conditionally dismissing unfair business charges the union had brought against the store. Alan Reichard, regional manager for the NLRB, wrote that it was okay for a store manager to be present when one employee asked another to sign a petition supporting the store against the union. Reichard gave the union six months to file a new, "meritorious" charge involving other unfair labor practices, and said that if it doesn't, he'll dismiss the charge entirely.

The NLRB also decided it was okay for a head cashier to ask employees to support the store against the union, because the cashier was not a supervisor. The UFCW, which did not return phone calls, withdrew a further allegation that store worker Victor Blanco was fired for supporting the union. "It's a relief," co-owner Diana Tam said. "We always have adhered to the law and respected the employees, so I'm glad this favorable ruling came out."

Tam greeted customers at the door of the store last Friday afternoon, and although she said the evening's Warriors game had kept some people away, there was still a steady flow of shoppers. She seemed upbeat, and a jazz band played outside the store while a small group handed out leaflets reading "Union's unfair labor practice charges resolved in favor of Farmer Joe's."

A handful of more subdued union organizers across the street said they were just watching the store this day, but they insisted Farmer Joe's problems were nowhere near an end.

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