2004-10-08 / Community

NLRB: Duane Reade Tried To ‘Destroy’ Union

In what the union is terming “an important victory for 2,600 employees at Duane Reade stores,” on September 29, 2004, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Administrative Law Judge Raymond P. Green found that Duane Reade “engaged in substantial illegal acts” as part of its efforts to “destroy” the Union and deprive employees of union representation.

Duane Reade was ordered to remedy its unfair labor practices by, among other things, hiring the people it fired back with full pay and bargaining with the Union concerning the terms and conditions of employment.

The Judge ruled that the May 29, 2003 election for union representation resulted in a valid vote for affiliation between the Allied Trades Council (ATC) and Local 338 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), UFCW, AFL-CIO, that Duane Reade unlawfully refused to allow Union representatives access to employees in the stores, and that Duane Reade was required to “reimburse the Union for all expenses related” to the May 29, 2003 election.

“A year and a half ago these workers told Duane Reade that they wanted ATC/Local 338 to represent them, and we’ve been fighting all this time for the employer to recognize the Union and bargain a fair contract for them,” said Local 338 President John R. Durso. “It’s time for justice for these workers, and for Duane Reade to stop its illegal activities and do what’s right for their employees.”

Specifically, the Judge held that Duane Reade coercively interrogated employees about their affiliation vote, threatened employees with loss of jobs and benefits and transfer to far away stores if they voted yes to affiliation, threatened employees with discharge if they spoke to Union representatives during working time, unlawfully promised benefits to employees if they voted against affiliation, unlawfully discharged four employees, and engaged in unlawful “mass surveillance” of employees before and during the May 8, 2003 affiliation vote and other unlawful surveillance of employees’ union activities.

In addition to bargaining a contract and hiring back fired employees, the Judge ordered Duane Reade to post notices explaining to the employees the wrongful acts it performed, stop refusing Union representatives access to the stores, furnish to the Union the names, addresses and phone numbers of all employees in the collective bargaining unit, and to pay the Union for all expenses related to the May 29 election.

The Duane Reade pharmacy outlet has been controversal since it was built two years ago, first for the companies defamation lawsuit against local artist Patrick Clark and The Wave for an advertisement in that paper and later for the entrance to its parking lot, which caused a number of accidents before it was fixed by DOT.

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