[act-ma] 3/16 PICKETING CONTINUES AT HARVEST FOR FIRED WORKERS (Sun)

Matthew Andrews peopleunite at verizon.net
Fri Mar 14 10:51:05 PDT 2008


PICKETING CONTINUES AT HARVEST FOR FIRED WORKERS

Sunday, March 16, from noon to 2pm.  Come help us hold signs, pass  
out flyers and talk to customers.


Management at the Harvest Co-op has thumbed their noses at members  
and workers by hiring a replacement for fired union supporter Deon  
Furtick, despite an ongoing investigation by the National Labor  
Relations Board, and weekly protests in front of the store.

Pay at the Harvest co-op is below industry standards.  New hires in  
most positions can expect to make $8.00 an hour.  The Harvest will  
save money by not having to pay Deon for the raises he had earned  
during his four years of service (including one $0.50 raise paid the  
day before he was fired).  But the loss to customer service, and the  
credibility of the Harvest as an alternative to their bigger  
corporate competition, will affect the bottom line in a way that  
cannot be measured.

Management fought and lost a recent battle against Diego Bencosme,  
the former meat department supervisor, for unemployment benefits.   
Now Harvest will once again be paying lawyer's fees to fight its own  
workers at the National Labor Relations Board.  If they lose this  
time, they may be required to reinstate Deon Furtick and Diego  
Bencosme with back wages.  Both Deon and Diego were excellent  
employees, yet because they stood up for themselves and others,  
management at the Harvest sought any opportunity they could to fire  
them.  Nothing could be further from the founding principles of the  
Harvest.

The message to Harvest's non-union “at-will” employees is clear.  If  
you complain about working conditions, want respect, or talk to co- 
workers about a union, you will be replaced.  Director of Membership  
and Community Relations, Chris Durkin, writes that the Harvest is  
being “attacked” by union activists.  He even compares the Harvest  
with Metro Lighting, a company in Berkeley, California, where workers  
who joined the IWW have been locked out after protesting age  
discrimination and refusing to work under hazardous conditions.

It is becoming apparent that pride and power are more important to  
management at Harvest than justice for employees, or even the  
financial welfare of the co-op.  Members asked the board of directors  
to investigate and intervene.  Hundreds of flyers have been given to  
customers outside the store.  Dozens have made phone calls to Marc  
Cutler, the manager in charge of hiring and firing.  Articles are  
beginning to appear in local newspapers such as The Bridge and What's  
Up/Spare Change.  Yet when recently asked about Deon's case, Marc  
Cutler said it would be “unprofessional” to rehire him.  We can only  
wonder what profession he thinks he's in.

Members, workers, and the community must not be ignored.  We are now  
asking our supporters to call Marc Cutler directly on his cell  
phone.  617-304-1137.  Can you hear us now Marc?  Give Deon Furtick  
and Diego Bencosme their jobs back with back pay before the National  
Labor Relations Board forces you to.  Do it before the picket lines  
and bad publicity hurt the co-op any more. Do it for the sake of  
justice.


Contact
Matthew Andrews
IWW Worker / Organizer
Harvest Workers' Organizing Committee
www.harvestorganizing.info/
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