February 17, 2014
By Joe Maniscalco
Mt. Kisco, NY – Already federally cited for unfair labor practices, and subjected to a damaging picket line outside its Lexington Avenue store following the axing of nine pro-union employees – the Canadian-based Mrs. Green’s supermarket chain now faces an all-out consumer boycott from Westchester County shoppers.
County Legislator Peter Harckham [D, WF, I – North Salem] is calling on Westchester County shoppers to spend their hard-earned dollars elsewhere in protest of the firings which followed an earlier attempt by Mrs. Green’s employees to join Local 1500 of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union.
“Mrs. Green’s mission statement says they are ‘dedicated to health and sustainability,’ yet they have a double standard when it comes to their workers’ right to earn a sustainable wage and to collectively bargain,” Harckham said in a statement.
Harckham is part of a growing list of elected officials, including Assemblymembers Shelley Mayer and David Buchwald, who have joined organized labor and former Mrs. Green’s customers on the picket line in support of the fired workers.
“The workers at the Mount Kisco Mrs. Green’s fighting to get their jobs back were fired for no other reason than they wanted to be union,” Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body President Paul Ryan told LaborPress. “They were longtime employees who worked hard for their employer. They wanted dignity and respect for their employment – and they wanted to better themselves and their families.”
Almost immediately, the sight of so many familiar Mrs. Green’s employees suddenly out walking a picket line in front of the 666 Lexington Avenue supermarket a few weeks ago, sparked outrage among longtime patrons of the store.
Former Mrs. Green’s patron Rita Tobin recently tweeted: “Mrs. Green’s Natural Market in Mt. Kisco, NY fired 9 workers for supporting union. Federal charges filed by Union. I won’t shop there.”
So far, the management of Mrs. Green’s Natural Market is keeping mum about the ongoing labor dispute. Repeated requests for comment have not been returned.
Ryan says that while the chain handsomely profits from the patronage of working men and women in Westchester County, its actions demonstrates “just how hard corporate greed is trying to break the middle class.”
“The hard-working public, who spend their money to buy Mrs. Green’s products and were serviced in the Mt. Kisco store by hard-working employees, should tell Mrs. Green’s that injustice towards its employees is not to be tolerated by a public majority that believes that it is a right for workers to attempt to better themselves,” the Central Labor Body president concluded.
The National Labor Relations Board cited Mrs. Green’s for unfair labor practices last fall. That, however, didn’t stop the company from subsequently firing nine of the most vocal supporters of unionization.
“I call on all fair-minded people in Westchester to boycott all Mrs. Green’s locations in Westchester until they hire back the fired workers, and respect their workers’ lawful right to organize,” Harckham said.