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Feds charge Marsh with unfair labor practices

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The National Labor Relations Board has scheduled a February hearing to present details of unfair labor practices charges levied against Fishers-based Marsh Supermarkets Inc.

NLRB staff investigated complaints filed by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 700 earlier this year alleging that Marsh violated federal law by threatening and intimidating employees to discourage them from forming a union. The grocery chain also allegedly fired an employee for supporting the union.

The federal agency has filed a formal complaint as a result of that inquiry, the union said in a statement released Thursday.

Marsh said the charges weren't true.

"We vehemently deny these charges and look forward to the scheduled hearing where the facts of the case will be presented," Marsh spokeswoman Connie Gardner said in an e-mailed statement Friday morning. "As the process continues we remain confident that in the end these allegations will be found to be without merit.  As a company, we are very proud of the fair and open environment that has been a hallmark of our relationship with our associates for nearly 80 years.  We have always respected and abided by the rules established by the National Labor Relations Board and any other governmental agency concerning employment matters."

As IBJ reported this fall, the union drive picked up steam this year as Marsh's parent company tried to sell the chain then pulled it off the market after failing to find a buyer.  Florida-based private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, which bought Marsh for $88 million in cash and the assumption of $237 million in debt, found no takers after it began marketing Marsh for $130 million to $150 million in late 2009. http://www.ibj.com/sun-capitals-cuts-spark-union-drive-at-marsh-supermarkets/PARAMS/article/22076

The labor relations board certified a 44-employee bargaining unit at the Beech Grove Marsh store, and a vote to authorize the union was scheduled for September.

But Local 700 canceled the election after Marsh reportedly fired employee Tony Massey in retaliation for his organizing activities, assigned corporate staff to the store on Albany Street in Beech Grove to intimidate employees, and trained security cameras on one employee, Marsha Bookout.

In its official complaint, the labor relations board charges Marsh management with placing their workers under surveillance; interrogating employees about union activities; prohibiting workers from talking about the union at work; interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of their rights; and firing an employee because of his support of the union.

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  • Work and Pray - Live on Hay
    If all American workers were content to work for pennies an hour and eat grass, the US would be the most competitive nation on earth and our bosses would be even richer!
  • Shame on Marsh!
    Shame on Marsh! Workers have the fundamental right to form a union, and Marsh is obviously in the wrong here. If companies would just do what is right by their employees, there would be no need for a union... plain and simple.
  • Then I guess...
    Then I guess you will not do any shopping at Kroger's.
  • union maid
    I take it you like being unemployed and underpaid?
  • Bad Unions
    All of the boys in my high school class wanted to work for a big union company. At our 45th reunion, all were unemployed- because they and their unions had become non-competitive, and had driven their companies out of business or to other states. Go Marsh! Protect local jobs by stopping the greedy unions and their poliical pacts.
    • It is a matter of Law and what is Right
      If Marsh (current Sun Capital Partners) treated their employees correctly, then they would not feel the need to unionize. What is Marsh afraid of? The denial of free speech and the right to organize is against the law. That in itself is serious infraction on American rights.
      • Go Marsh!
        Labor unions served a purpose once, but that was generations ago. We now have a massive body of federal and state law to protect workers, not to mention armies of lawyers anxious to represent them.

        Unions now exist to extract dues from their members to spend on political candidates with agendas the members may not even agree with not to mention very generous salaries for their leaders.

        My childhood hometown of Anderson was ruined by unions. I'll gladly go out of my way to shop at a non-union store. Go Marsh!!!
        • Work or Don't Work, Others Want Your Job
          If you don't like the working conditions, then go find a new place to work. Trying to organize at Marsh--or any company--is short sighted on the part of the employees. Ask all the union employees of now closed factories how they like those union-driven pay and benefit increases now that the plant is closed and they are no longer employed. If you are not happy with how much you make at Marsh, or any company, take your skillset to the market and find someone who is willing to pay you more. You may just find out that your skillset isn't in demand, and that is your fault and not your employer's. I'm sick and tired of paying higher prices due to union demands, and then hearing laid off workers complain about unemployment benefits that they never contributed to (look it up...unemployment is paid 100% by the employer, there is no right to it because the employee paid for it). There are jobs out there, and if you don't like yours, go get a different one because someone else wants yours.
        • Lets be Educated!
          If people were truly educated on the negative impacts of unionization, they would never actually join the band wagon. Way to Go Marsh for standing up to the bullies of this industry and rid Indiana of an archaic way of work.
        • No surprise
          As long as I can remember Marsh has done everything they could to prevent a union from being formed. I worked there for 9 years, and I can't tell you how many times I would see emails from corporate to the stores to be on union watch, and to be sure to escort anyone representing a union off the premises immediately.

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