On Sunday a Facebook page was opened with the title, “Unite Bloomingfoods,” and a bold headline stating, “UNION YES.” An anonymous posting stated that some employees, “have gone too long waiting for our Admin offices to take care of not only the company, but to take care of its workers. There is a current push to Unionize the co-op.”
According to former Bloomingfoods employee Cindy Beaule, line workers are paid at or near minimum wage with modest increases for seniority, and no formal benefits such as health care, paid leave, vacation time, etc. beyond what is required by state or national labor regulations. Furthermore, Beaule found that her fellow employees and even line managers had little input into administrative decision making regarding day-to-day operations. Recently, the administration established what it called an “Open Books” policy to encourage employee feedback. However, Beaule said employees were pessimistic as to the sincerity and credibility of this program in light of previous administrative indifference.
The Daily Local News spoke to a Bloomingfoods employee involved with the “Unite Bloomingfoods” union drive who stated that though they had begun their Facebook campaign, she was unwilling to do an interview due to the unionization drive being in early stages. This summer two large natural and organic grocery chains announced plans to open branches in Bloomington. The national chains can offer more attractive employee pay and benefits. Employees of the Kroger corporation, which operates stores in Bloomington, are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
The Daily Local News has contacted Bloomingfoods representatives for an interview. Cindy Beaule is a WFHB volunteer.