Mountaire hit with federal lawsuit by UFCW union over coronavirus working conditions

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United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 27, which represents nearly 1,000 poultry workers at Mountaire Farms, filed federal charges against the company for unfair labor practices.

The charges allege that Mountaire Farms management violated federal labor law by (1) forcing workers represented by the union to attend captive employee meetings conducted without regard to CDC social distancing guidelines; (2) excluding a union shop steward from a COVID-related Plant Complex site visit and meeting conducted by agents of the CDC and the Delaware State Health Department; and (3) engaging in surveillance of a Facebook group maintained to promote acts of mutual aid and protection.

“We have dealt with Mountaire for many years and the company makes no secret that it is ideologically opposed to its employees exercising their union rights as guaranteed under federal law,” UFCW Local 27 President Jason Chorpenning. “Over the past few months, in the midst of an unprecedented and life-threatening pandemic, our members have been subjected to anti-union propaganda from highly paid outside consultants aimed at eliminating union protections for Mountaire employees. In addition, the company has surveilled employees on social media, excluded union stewards and other officials from meetings and otherwise attempted to put a chilling effect on outspoken workers. Despite the company’s resistance, we are committed to serving our members and protecting their ability to exercise their rights under the law.”

This is the third charge filed against Mountaire by the union in the past few months. The union previously filed a complaint in March against the company for denying union officials access to the plant while granting unabated access to other parties.

The union filed another charge against Mountaire in April when the company failed to furnish information requested by the union as required under federal law and for granting special privileges to employees campaigning against the union in the plant.

WGMD News has reached out to Mountaire Farms for comment and is awaiting a response.