August 28, 2009
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa–In the face of allegations that it had violated numerous federal laws, Plumrose USA has entered into a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Many workers at Plumrose, which processes deli meats and pork products at its facility in Council Bluffs, have been taking steps to form a union with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) for several years. Plumrose had been charged with giving workers the impression that they were under surveillance and that their immigration status would be reported to federal authorities, forbidding employees from discussing the union at work, and interrogating workers about union activities.
“This settlement just confirms what so many of us have known for a long time,” said Carlos Barraza, a ten-year Plumrose worker. “It’s long past time for change at Plumrose. The only way we’ll get a real voice on the job here is by exercising our rights and standing together.”
The settlement requires Plumrose to post a notice in its Council Bluffs facility informing employees that federal law protects their right to form a union for their “benefit and protection” and that it would be unlawful for Plumrose to interfere with the exercise of that right. The full text of the notice can be found at http://www.fairnessforfoodworkers.org/plumrose.pdf
“Plumrose is a textbook case on why workers need a free and fair process to form a union,”” said Mark Lauritsen, Director of the UFCW Manufacturing, Packing, and Food Processing Division. “Standing up for yourself and your coworkers shouldn’t carry the risk of the boss’s wrath or losing your job. The employees who are forced to work in such a hostile environment hope that this settlement represents a new attitude at Plumrose toward the free exercise of the right to form a union.”
More than 1.3 million food processing, grocery, and retail workers in the United States and Canada have joined together in the UFCW to protect their workplace rights and to improve working conditions.