[act-ma] 2/23 picket co-op board for labor rights (Sat)
peopleunite at verizon.net
Tue Feb 19 10:44:08 PST 2008
Deon Furtick was arbitrarily fired from the Harvest Co-op after he
began talking to co-workers about organizing a union, and complained
to management about racism. We have spoken out at a meeting of the
Harvest Board of Directors, we have made phone calls to management
and now we are flyering outside the Harvest's two locations in
Cambridge and Jamaica Plain. So far our "community co-op" has given
us the cold shoulder. Join us this Saturday to picket the board of
directors and management as they meet to plan their long term vision
for the co-op. Let's remind them that worker's rights and
accountability to the membership are essential to our co-op!
When: Saturday, February 23rd, 8:00am to 4:00pm
(please let us know if you can come from 8am - noon, or noon - 4pm)
Where: Paulist Center, 5 Park Street, across from the Park Street T Stop
press release below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2008
email: peopleunite at verizon.net
This Saturday, February 23rd, fired worker Deon Furtick will be
protesting to get his job back along with concerned Harvest Co-op
members, and supporters from the Industrial Workers of the World.
The picket will be outside a meeting of the Harvest Co-op's board of
directors, at the Paulist Center, 5 Park Street, from 8:00am to
4:00pm. Harvest board members are having a day long "retreat" to
develop "long term objectives and hopes for the board's work and
Three weeks ago, eight community members went to the Harvest's board
of directors to express concern over the termination of Deon
Furtick. Two supporters of Deon, a co-worker and long time co-op
member, spoke on his behalf during a five minute public comment
period. The group asked the board of directors for Deon to be
reinstated with back pay, that management use progressive discipline
before firing employees, and that the right to organize be
respected. Since then community members have passed out hundreds of
flyers outside the co-op's two locations in Cambridge and Jamaica
Plain, and dozens of phone calls have been made to management on
Deon's behalf. Yet so far the Harvest has refused to discuss the issue.
Deon Furtick, 31, of Roxbury, and a father of three, had worked in
the deli at the Jamaica Plain store, 57 South St., for four years.
He was fired for not punching out on the store time-clock for his
meal break on Tuesday, January 8th. Deon had never punched out for
his meal breaks, and did not realize not doing so was putting his
employment in jeopardy. In fact, Marc Cutler, Manager of Operations,
used to be the store manager in Jamaica Plain and personally signed
off on Deon’s hours every week. The policy of not paying for meal
breaks was not consistently enforced, and depended largely on which
department the employee worked. Other employees in this situation
are simply spoken to by a supervisor, or given a written warning.
Deon was terminated without warning.
Deon Furtick had been talking with co-workers about organizing a
union with the Industrial Workers of the World, IU 460. In late
October, Deon, and three other employees approached Marc Cutler about
Deon not being given an interview for promotion to deli supervisor.
Marc Cutler refused to discuss the situation, and did not return
subsequent phone calls by Deon to set up a meeting. In December,
Deon complained about racism in the workplace, and requested a
meeting with Sandra Andrew of Human Resources. Deon was told he
would have to visit the Cambridge offices on his own time. As a
father working two jobs, Deon could not promptly make the time to
pursue his complaint. Then Sandra Andrew went on vacation. A month
after Deon had complained about racism, and two months after engaging
in legally protected collective activity, Deon, an employee of over
four years, was fired on the shaky pretext of misrepresenting hours
The picket this Saturday will ask that Deon be returned to his job,
that fair and legal disciplinary policies are followed, and that the
board be accountable to the concerns of co-op members. The IWW is
continuing to ask community members and friends of labor to call Marc
Cutler, Manager of Operations, at his office number 617-661-1580 to
demand that Deon be reinstated with back pay for loss of wages.
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