Workday Minnesota has obtained a letter to Mississippi Market employees signed by General Manager Gail Graham dated March 6, 2018. The letter gives evidence of an anti-union perspective.
While the letter states that the “The Co-op is neither pro-union nor anti-union.”
The letter explains that a union is not in best interests of workers,
“While Mississippi Market is not opposed to unions and respects the rights of our employees to choose for themselves, we are convinced that it is not in the best interest of our employees or the Market to have employees represented by a union.”
Employers hostile to unions often focus on the narrative that the union is a third party and would, therefore, disrupt direction communication.
“When employees join an outside labor union, the direct relationship method of dealing with workplace issues and problems basically disappears.”
These statements distort the reality is that unions represent the opportunity for workers to bargain collectively and express their common interests.
Finally, the Mississippi market uses a common union-busting talking point, that all unions want is dues.
“Unions have one primary objective — to grow the ranks of their membership by organizing more employees and to collect dues and fees from those employees. Everything unions do is a means to that end. We do not think that any employee should be required to pay any person or organization dues or assessments for the right to work at the co-op.”
You can read the full text below.
We understand that a union has been trying to gain the support of Mississippi Market’s employees to organize. I am writing to you because the matter of whether our employees might choose to be represented by an outside labor union is an issue of great importance to our Co-op. I want to be sure that all of you are aware of the Co-op’s position on this issue and the reason for that position.
Mississippi Market considers our employees to be our most important asset, and we value our relationship with them. The Co-op is neither pro-union nor anti-union. We are pro-employee, and we strive to maintain a direct, positive relationship with every staff member. Our goal is to ensure that employees neither need nor want a union. We believe that through strong employee relations, effective supervision, and a commitment to dignity, fairness and respect, we can provide a better work environment for employees than they would have if they were unionized.
We know that there is increasing pressure to unionize because the co-ops in Minneapolis have been organizing. This doesn’t mean it is the right move for our co-op. We think we can provide a different model by operating as we have. We believe that the current direct access to management is a very positive aspect of our business, and that losing that connection would not work to your advantage.
While Mississippi Market is not opposed to unions and respects the rights of our employees to choose for themselves, we are convinced that it is not in the best interest of our employees or the Market to have employees represented by a union. For our nearly 40 years in business we have valued our direct relationship with staff and we would like to maintain this direct relationship. We believe it fosters better communication, more individualized solutions to issues and problems, and more effective responses to changing business circumstances. When employees join an outside labor union, the direct relationship method of dealing with workplace issues and problems basically disappears.
We do not believe you need a union to get fair treatment. Our management team has pledged itself to high standards of fair treatment and respect for employees and we consistently seek to achieve and maintain these standards.
Unions have one primary objective — to grow the ranks of their membership by organizing more employees and to collect dues and fees from those employees. Everything unions do is a means to that end. We do not think that any employee should be required to pay any person or organization dues or assessments for the right to work at the co-op.
Unions do none of the things that must be done to provide secure, rewarding jobs. They don’t cook food, stock shelves, ensure quality, interact with our shoppers or sell products. They do not generate profits. It is up to all of us to do those things, and that does not change if employees vote to bring in an outside labor organization. What does change is that issues and problems are addressed and resolved through this third party, rather than dealing with them directly ourselves. We believe that adding this additional step generally does not result in better solutions. It does frequently result in more delay and increased conflict in addressing problems.
If someone asks you to sign a union authorization card, the decision is yours. However, please recognize that signing an authorization card is a significant act which should not be taken lightly. Signing a union authorization card is the first step in giving over your individual ability to speak for yourself in the workplace to a third party who will make decisions and act on your behalf.
Before signing an authorization card, you should insist on getting answers to the question, “How is bringing in an outside union going to make things better for me?” You should demand specifics about how the union is going to get this doneand what it will cost you. You should ask to see other contracts which demonstrate that the union has achieved better solutions to your issues on behalf of other employees. Ask what the union dues would be now, and how they might change in coming years or for new employees. Be sure to compare the total package of wages and benefits laid out in or an agency fee each and every month. other contracts which this union may use as a selling point to you, keeping in mind that you will be obliged to pay dues
We honestly believe that if you ask the union to demonstrate specifically how you will be better off bringing in an outside labor organization, if you think carefully about these answers, and if you consider just how the union is going to interest. make good on any promises, then you will agree that bringing in an outside labor organization is not in your best
Mississippi Market has a genuine interest in its employees’ well-being, and we view our relationship with our employees as mutually beneficial. We believe that working together, informally, personally, and directly, rather than through third party intervention, is in the best interests of everyone at Mississippi Market. If you have any questions about our position regarding outside labor organizations, why we value dealing with our employees on a direct relationship basis, or anything else I have mentioned in this letter, please ask them.
Thank you for your patient attention.
Gail Graham General Manager Mississippi Market