New Seasons unfair labor practice case goes before federal judge

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By COLIN STAUB

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) says employer misconduct may justify re-running a union election at New Seasons market in Hillsboro last September. The board will hold a hearing May 15 to examine the evidence, hear from witnesses and make a judgment on whether violations were significant enough to order a new election.

United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 believed there was majority support when it requested a union election last May among workers at the New Seasons Market at Orenco Station. But when election results were tallied Sept. 1, 37 workers voted for the union and 60 against. Local 555 filed objections, saying New Seasons affected the results by violating labor laws. Local 555 alleged the company denied off-duty workers access to the parking lot; prohibited workers from distributing union literature in the parking lot while off the clock; threatened that workers could lose existing discounts and incentives if they unionized; and told workers they’d no longer be able to address workplace problems directly with managers and supervisors.

New Seasons denied all those allegations in a Jan. 19 document filed with the NLRB, and said it hasn’t engaged in any unfair labor practices.

But NLRB Region 19 director Ronald Hooks in January determined that the evidence described by Local 555 could be sufficient to overturn the election, and ordered a hearing to be scheduled At the May 15 hearing, the union and company will be able to introduce evidence, and examine and cross-examine witnesses.    

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