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Local 328 Greenleaf Victory Underscores Power of UFCW Membership

January 13, 2022

Members of UFCW Local 328 who work at Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth, R.I., recently reached a settlement with their employer after months of investigations by the NLRB. 

UFCW Local 328 filed charges with the NLRB against Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center for violating workers’ rights, including the termination of employee and bargaining committee member Ben Telford; the elimination of employee discounts during a six-week period; the elimination of the Friday lunch program; and transfer of bargaining unit work to a new classification. Additional charges included interrogation, surveillance and disparagement of employees for their union activity. After an investigation, the NLRB issued complaints on each of these charges against Greenleaf. Just a day before the trial was set to take place, Greenleaf offered to settle on every complaint.

The settlement agreement includes:

  • Back pay for employees during a six-week period the company did not extend their employee discount to eligible union voters
  • Back pay for employees affected by the company’s elimination of the Friday lunch program for the past 25 weeks.
  • The immediate reinstatement of the Friday lunch program.
  • The offer of reinstatement to Telford, who was illegally terminated by the company in June, with compensation of full back pay for wages, interest and additional compensation.
  • The immediate restoration and protection of bargaining unit work for keyholders.
  • A signed commitment by the company to not interfere with employees’ rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act; to not disparage, surveil, discipline or discharge workers for their union activity; to not create new positions to avoid collective bargaining obligations; to not transfer work to managers or other employees because of their union activity; and a commitment to bargain in good faith with UFCW Local 328.

These workers made history by becoming the first cannabis dispensary workers in the state to unionize by joining UFCW Local 328 in April of 2021. They held a one-day strike on June 26 to protest the illegal firing of Telford, who was illegally terminated for his union activity. With this settlement agreement, Greenleaf has offered Telford reinstatement to his position and will compensate him with full back pay for all lost wages, interest and additional compensation.

“We are pleased with the results of the investigations from the NLRB and the signed commitments we secured in this settlement agreement,” said Greenleaf workers in a group statement. “We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to the NLRB for their hard work during the investigation of numerous labor complaints that were filed against our employer.”

“While we should not have had to experience these unfair labor practices to begin with, it was extremely reassuring to know that we, as workers, had a formal means of recourse when our employer committed these infractions. While forming a union can be a challenging and arduous process, we know that it is one of the few options we have as workers to create a more stable and predictable future.”

“We encourage workers to continue to organize with each other both within individual companies and across the industry. We want to thank UFCW Local 328 for all of its continued support and the resources we’ve been given through this process. We look forward to continuing to build a healthier and secured future for all of us at Greenleaf by completing our first union contract in the near future.”

“We are proud of the workers at Greenleaf for standing together to achieve this victory,” said UFCW Local 328 Director of Organizing Sam Marvin. “It is critical that employers are held accountable when they break the law and violate workers’ rights. This settlement represents a significant achievement for Greenleaf workers in their pursuit for justice and fairness at their workplace, and we look forward to continuing to work together to build the futures they all have earned.”

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