NSM Workers' Voice; Press Release, 3/12/12
New Seasons Market Workers' Voice is a coalition of workers, family members, customers, and organizations dedicated to promoting improved conditions and workplace democracy at New Seasons Market
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 12, 2012
New Seasons Market Workers' Voice
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org 971-258-1653
Rally to Restore Values at New Seasons Market
PORTLAND, OR -- On Saturday, March 10, a group of over 100 community members, labor activists and New Seasons Market workers gathered in front of the Seven Corner's store to participate in the second rally held in support of Ryan Gaughan. After working for the company for 9 and a half years, Gaughan was wrongfully terminated from New Seasons in February. Gaughan is a vocal advocate for his co-workers' rights. Along with multiple workers from the NSM Workers' Voice campaign, he advocated for safer working conditions, inclusive health care, and stood up for other New Seasons workers who have been unfairly fired.
The rally, organized by New Seasons Market Workers' Voice, began with a lively conga line of supporters and customers who danced through the aisles while signing their praise for the workers in the store. The dance finished with a supporter announcing their appreciation of the workers: "We're here because we love you and the work that you do." A round of applause for the workers at the Seven Corner's store concluded the dance as participants exited to join the growing rally outside.
A delegation of supporters from the Portland chapter of Jobs with Justice delivered a community petition to management. The petition contains over 700 signatures, and calls for the immediate reinstatement of Gaughan's job. This petition also demands that management at New Seasons begin meeting with workers in the company to begin negotiations seeking to reform the company's disciplinary practices.
"Portland Jobs with Justice is committed to workers' rights to collective action, democracy in the workplace, and due process. We have endorsed the campaign of New Seasons Market Workers' Voice and call for the immediate reinstatement of Ryan Gaughan, who we believe was unjustly fired because of his efforts to promote workplace democracy. We encourage others to do likewise."
Yard signs reading, "Restore Values at New Seasons Market" were distributed and will find their way to lawns throughout Portland.
Ryan Gaughan and members of the NSM Workers' Voice campaign are participating in an Unfair Labor Practice investigation against the company, which is currently being conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Management has taken pains to highlight that Gaughan refused to participate in the company's pre-termination review process. This process is far from being impartial. New Seasons Market pays an unspecified agency to conduct these reviews. Employees who elect to participate do not have any identifying information regarding the name of the agency responsible for the review, nor the name of the person(s) who examine evidence. Any testimony that an employee supplies in their defense must be forwarded through the company's Human Resources department, and the employee is never interviewed or directly questioned by the agency.
Members of the New Seasons Market Workers' Voice campaign feel that the NLRB investigatory process is the truly impartial venue for the dispute to be heard. In the meantime, the campaign intends to continue with it's effort to bring democratic reforms to the company's disciplinary procedures. Specifically, workers want to work towards developing two initiatives; 1) Establishing the right for workers to have a peer witness present during disciplinary meetings, and, 2) Collaborating with management to develop a peer-review panel, where employees have the opportunity to directly appeal disciplinary actions by presenting their case to a forum of their co-workers.
New Seasons Market first opened its doors in Portland in 2000, with the Seven Corners store opening four years later. In January, the company announced plans for its thirteenth store in the Portland metropolitan area. Endeavour Capital, an investment capital firm, became a major investor in New Seasons in 2009 and according to a February 2012 email to staff, now claims 69% of the company. Amidst this rapid expansion, the question arises as to whether New Seasons' focus on expansion has compromised their stated value of a "progressive workplace".
New Seasons Market Workers' Voice is a coalition of workers, family members, customers, and organizations dedicated to promoting improved conditions and workplace democracy at New Seasons Market.
For more info: www.NewSeasonsMarketWorkersVoice.org
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