Seward Co-op Board of Directors FAQ

Did the co-op hire a union busting lawyer?

No. After we became aware that the UFCW was interested in organizing our co-op in the fall of 2015, management spent the better part of the next year looking for a lawyer who represented both unions and management. Our goal was to find a lawyer who would help us form a neutral position regarding unionization. With our counsel, we drafted a neutrality policy regarding unionization in March of 2017. This management policy permitted the possibility of voluntary recognition. We also hired a negotiator who spent the better part of their career working for the UFCW. We wanted someone who understood the union position clearly, so that we could negotiate in a fair and reasonable manner.

Why did the co-op decide to not voluntarily recognize the union in 2017?

We were not provided the opportunity to consider card check or voluntary recognition. The employee organizing committee filed the petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold an election on the morning of June 7, 2017. We learned about the filing after a March on the Boss that occurred later that day.

Did Seward Co-op collude with Eastside Co-op to deny an applicant a position?

No, this is a misinterpretation of what transpired and an example of the misleading information we mentioned earlier. Seward Co-op calls all references and former employers for applicants. Our staff asks the applicants’ references three questions: Did the employee work with you on the dates listed on the application? Did the employee make the disclosed wage? And is this former employee eligible for re-hire? When any employer states “no” when asked if someone is eligible for rehire, that applicant is removed from the pool of candidates. Seward Co-op provides the same information to other employers that inquire. We don’t explain why they are ineligible for rehire. This is a standard hiring practice.

Does the co-op blacklist union activists?

Absolutely not! This accusation has no merit. The co-op does call references as any business would. We ask three questions: Did the employee work with you on the dates listed on the application? Did the employee make the disclosed wage? And is this former employee eligible for re-hire? These are all yes or no questions. If a reference comes back in which the former employer says no to the last question, the applicant is not eligible to be hired at Seward Co-op.

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