A socialist-themed vegan meat company has been blighted with recent problems involving a worker-led unionization scheme when employees were allegedly unlawfully terminated from the place of business.
Vegan food brand “No Evil Foods” began in 2014 and has since swelled to have their products sold at 5,500 retail stores (including Whole Foods), according to FEE.
Waging non Violence reported: “No Evil Foods sought to appeal to social justice activists by using names like El Zapatista (a chorizo substitute named after the Mexican revolutionary) or Comrade Chuck (a mock chicken) for their products, but were firm in their opposition to a union.”
“Since they appeal to the tradition of the militant workers’ movement and tout themselves as being a pro-worker company, many people were surprised when audio surfaced in March of management using what workers called intimidation tactics in their captive audience meeting to undermine a union organizing drive at their Weaverville, North Carolina plant,” they added.
An effort to unionize the labor force was lost in a 43-15 employee vote, but was later rekindled when two union organizers were allegedly fired for flouting social distancing and dress code.
Mike Woliansky, the CEO of No Evil Foods, said: “I sincerely believe that right now a union would be a terrible thing for you and for No Evil Foods.”
“You could get more than you currently have,” Woliansky added. “You could get the same thing you currently have. You could get less than you currently have. I don’t think you need a union voice here.”
However, following the release of the two union organizers, “the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found merit that the company illegally terminated the two workers,” according to Vice News.
The company was found to have violated the law by terminating workers on questionable grounds because they allegedly “assisted a union” and “circulat[ed] a petition seeking hazard pay… for the purposes of mutual aid and protection.”
Vice News reported:
Under the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, it is illegal for employers to discriminate or retaliate against workers for organizing coworkers to improve their working conditions or for attempting to form unions.
In September, the NLRB lodged a federal complaint against No Evil Foods, on the grounds that the company potentially violated the NLRA by “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed,” after the two union members were sacked following their unsuccessful attempt to unite the company’s employees.
Cortne Roche, one of the fired union organizers, said: “There was very strong evidence in our favor,” adding “this was a cut and dry case of retaliatory firing for union organizing.”
“The finding that our case had merit is a cause for any worker anywhere to see that there is an actual law that allows people to organize without fear of retaliation,” Roche said. “Companies that fire people who organize aren’t on the right side of history. “