A week after workers at a Dollar General store in Auxvasse, MO, voted to unionize, the company, in typical corporate fashion, filed an objection Dec. 14 over the vote with the St. Louis regional office of the National Labor Relations Board alleging an employee who had spoken in favor of unionizing bribed or otherwise pressured two other employees to vote in favor of joining United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655.
The Auxvasse, MO store is the first Dollar General in the country where employees have successfully voted to unionize.
“It’s incredibly disappointing that a company like Dollar General, which makes billions of dollars every year, would rather slander one of their own employees with false accusations rather than recognize their legal rights,” Local 655 President David Cook said.
“The employees of Auxvasse Dollar General held a fair and free election and voted overwhelmingly for union representation in bargaining. Now, rather than acknowledge this legal right, Dollar General is seeking to target one of their own employees with intimidation and lies just to avoid the possibility of having to negotiate with their workers on how they can improve their workplace.
“Let’s be totally clear,” Cook said. “The employee identified by Dollar General told reporters on camera that he liked working for his company, but he thought things could be better at work. Despite this position, Dollar General immediately brought in their high-priced anti-union and out-of-state law firm and their wealthy executives to begin a process that included mandatory anti-union meetings. This is yet another example of the wealthy preying on people who want nothing more than a chance to join the middle class and have their shot at the American Dream.
“We find it ironic that Dollar General held mandatory meetings forcing employees to listen to their anti-union rhetoric and is now accusing others of intimidation,” Cook said. “This is the typical business model of many national corporations in today’s profit-over-people world. Rather than work with their employees who simply want the opportunity to join the middle class, Dollar General has elected to engage in lies and smears to protect their profits and threaten their employees.
“We will absolutely answer these charges with the facts because we have a legal and moral responsibility to protect hard-working men and women from these kinds of dirty tactics that are far too common in the American workplace. The employees of Dollar General voted, and their voices should be heard.”
MISTREATMENT AND INTIMIDATION
Local 655 said if someone is trying to intimidate the Auxvasse workers, it’s Dollar General.
Local 655 Communications Director Collin Reischman said none of the workers told the union they felt pressured to vote to unionize, but one of them said he’s been treated differently since he voted for representation.
Dollar General has an official policy that employees can’t use their phones at work, but the Auxvasse store generally didn’t enforce that rule, Reischman said. After the vote, this worker who wanted to unionize said he was told for the first time that he would need to lock his phone in his car.
When the worker went back into the store, the manager who told him to lock up his phone was looking through pictures on a phone with one of the workers who was against the union, Reischman said.
“That’s the kind of mistreatment and favoritism you see as soon as someone decides they want to vote for a union when you have a company like Dollar General,” Reischman said. “They have already decided that they are going to make his life harder.”
UNION FILING CHARGES
Local 655 is filing charges with the labor relations board against Dollar General on the employee’s behalf.
Reischman said he thinks Dollar General is using the Auxvasse store as an example for its other employees. The company is showing its workers that if they vote for union bargaining, Dollar General will retaliate, he said.
Dollar General is being represented by the global law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
According to ABC News, the firm, with headquarters in Philadelphia, has served as tax counsel to President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization.