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Workers at Bloomingfoods are holding a rally today in support of efforts to unionize. Dakota Walker, a Bloomingfoods employee and an active participant in the union organizing drive talks about the purpose of the rally.
Walker said that the rally is about employee empowerment- it’s an effort to make our community stronger. The goal is to enable and protect the rights of the working class of the Bloomingfoods co-op. The Bloomingfoods workers realize that the rally is important in deciding their fate.
The rally is scheduled to begin at the Monroe County Courthouse Square at 5 p.m. and proceed to Bloomingfoods’ near westside store at 316 West Sixth. Participants will then march to Bloomingfoods’ administration offices at 117 South Gentry Street where they will deliver their message to the Board who are scheduled to meet at 6pm.
Walker explained, “There has not been a neutral stance from Bloomingfoods, and now they publicly say that they have been neutral and haven’t caused any trouble when they have.” He said that the rally is an attempt to get Bloomingfoods to step forward and admit to what they have done.
Bloomingfoods administration released their first statement regarding the effort yesterday, stating that the co-operative, fully respects and supports staff’s legal right to organize. It also reads, “Throughout this process, we have been respectful and cooperative—meeting with union representation on a regular basis and refraining from any public comment until we were able to assimilate what we learned from others.” Walker then talks about the current stage of union organizing.
Walker said, “They have not called for a vote yet. It has been going very well, it’s been amazing signing people up who are interested in their rights and exercising their rights. Right now there are a large percentage of people involved, and there will remain a lot of involvement. There’s no fear of not enough people, that’s for sure.”
The organizers must get forty percent of line employees to sign union membership cards before going to the National Labor Relations board to ask for a formal vote by the employees. If fifty percent vote in favor, the Board will then certify the workers bargaining unit and the employer will then be approached to open negotiations for a first collective agreement.