Labor union rallies ahead of decertification vote, Mountaire calls it an “employee led fight”
SELBYVILLE, Del. – An election scheduled to determine the future of a labor union that represents about one-thousand Mountaire workers begins this week.
“Certainly we represented these workers for 43 years in the past and we plan on representing them for 43 more years in the future,” says Nelson Hill, the vice president of UFCW Local 27.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 27 held a rally and caravan on Monday. Representatives say they’re fighting to stay at Mountaire’s Selbyville poultry plant in order to protect workers. The union believes an employee was manipulated into starting a decertification vote.
“Mountaire Farms along with the National Right to Work foundation conspired with a worker to obtain signatures from our members under false pretenses to decertify their union,” says Hill.
Members claim anti-union posters were hung inside the facility. The posters are credited to the same employee responsible for starting the vote. The union says they haven’t been given an opportunity to convince workers otherwise and it’s a situation that has gotten the attention of Senator Chris Coons.
“I think there’s been now several months of active anti-union engagement advocacy by management. I don’t think the UFCW has had the opportunity because of the pandemic to make their best case to the workforce,” says U.S. Senator Chris Coons.
Meanwhile, Mountaire tells 47 ABC they haven’t had anything to do with this scheduled mail in election. “This is an employee led fight here at our facility to decertify the union,” says Cathy Bassett, the director of communications and community relations for Mountaire Farms Inc.
In fact, Mountaire says they’re taking a back seat regardless of the outcome. “We know it’s a critical time for them to try to fight for their lives and they’re doing that. They’re going to say and do whatever they want to say and do but we are going to continue to support our employees who want a voice. They want a vote and they want a choice,” says Bassett.
Mountaire’s Selbyville plant is the company’s only location that still has a union. Union representatives tell 47 ABC a decertification may hurt the local economy, arguing that Mountaire could then pay workers less. However, Mountaire tells 47 ABC that workers at their other plants actually make more money than employees at the Selbyville location. But the union says it’s not a significant difference and that’s specifically done to strengthen their argument to get rid of unions.
Due to the pandemic, the election is being done by mail. The ballots, which are in three languages, will be sent out on Tuesday and workers have until July 14th at 3 PM to return them. The union should have results on July 15th.