2004-02-27 / Community

NLRB Rules Against Duane Reade

NLRB Rules Against Duane Reade

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that Duane Reade stores have violated federal labor law by engaging in "unfair labor practices," including a failure to provide information to the union representing its workers, to pay em ployees for accrued unused sick leave, to remit dues to the union, discontinuing payments to em-
ployee benefit funds and prematurely implementing its "last and final offer" before reaching a good faith bargaining impasse.

According to union sources, Duane Reade has been ordered to cease and desist from such unfair labor practices and take immediate action to effectuate the policies of the Na tional Labor Relations Act, including restoring the terms and conditions of employment that previously existed. Duane Reade has also been ordered to make whole the Vacation and Fringe Benefit Fund, the Allied Welfare Fund and the Union Mu tual Fund and "reimburse employees for any expenses resulting from the unlawful failure to make contributions to these funds." Audit re sults from January 2004 found that, as of November 30, 2003, Duane Reade owed the funds $5.7 million in contributions and interest.

In addition, Duane Reade must provide hiring and wage increase information the union requested for employees. It also must post at all of its facilities where employees are represented by ATC/Local 338 copies of the NLRB’s finding that the company violated Federal labor law with a listing of those violations.

The February 18 ruling by the NLRB, through Administrative Law Judge Eleanor MacDonald, is the re sult of charges brought against the retailer by ATC/Local 338 RWDSU, UFCW, AFL-CIO, the union representing 2,600 employees at 142 stores in New York.

"We are extremely pleased by the ruling," said Local 338 President John R. Durso. "It’s a major victory and step forward in our battle for justice for workers at Duane Reade. We’re hopeful that Duane Reade will now stop its method of threats and lies, and do what’s right and bargain in good faith for a contract for these workers."

Despite an election where 93 percent of employees who cast a ballot voted in favor of affiliation between ATC and Local 338, Duane Reade has refused to acknowledge the union and to negotiate a contract for the past two years. In response, ATC/Local 338 RWDSU, UFCW, AFL-CIO has launched a "Dwayne Greed" campaign, calling for an end to Duane Reade’s unfair labor practices, and demanding the giant retailer bargain for a contract. The campaign also highlights a report by NYC Assemblyman Jeff Klein titled, "Filled Prescriptions, Empty Pock ets," which found that Duane Reade discriminates in the pricing of its prescription drugs, charging more on average for prescription drugs in poor and minority communities.

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