The National Labor Relations Board reached a decision (case 05-CA-062891) this week bringing justice to a fellow worker wrongfully fired from the Forest Hill Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream in Richmond, Virginia.
On August 18, 2011 (see ‘Unfair Labor Practice’ at the Forest Hill Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream?) an ‘Unfair Labor Practice‘ was filed against the local establishment for a violation of an employee’s right to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid protection, as found in Sec. 7. [§ 157.] of the National Labor Relations Act.
The boards decision will require Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream to pay the fellow worker a settlement for lost wages, which includes an agreement that they will not return to their former position with the employer. Furthermore, Crossroads Coffee & Ice Cream must visibly post, for all current workers, and email all former workers, an apology and notice of an employee’s right to unionize.
On Jun 8, 2011, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), was terminated after sending an email, a common form of communication, to management and staff. The email addressed Crossroads owner Will Herring’s failure to close and lock up the establishment, forcing employees to wait for his arrival well after the end of their shift. This incident was one in a pattern of disrespectful behavior by Mr. Herring towards employees. While individual attempts were made by employees to address the problem, their failure led to the decision that collective action was the logical step towards resolving the issue.
Our intention was not to suggest a boycott of the establishment; rather, we wanted to join concerned workers and customers in sending a message to management and other Richmond employers that exploitation will not be tolerated. Members of the Industrial Workers of the World firmly believe that all employers, large and small, must respect the rights of its employees — including the right to an open and safe environment where employee concerns can be addressed without the fear of retaliation. If this simple demand can not be met, the working class will respond as necessary.
The Richmond Industrial Workers of the World accept the NLRB’s decision as a victory for our fellow worker and the working class as whole. However, the Industrial Workers of the World would like to stress the importance of workers collectively organizing on the shop floor. The everyday practice of solidarity and direct action as a means to prevent retaliation against our fellow workers should always be the first response, leaving government institutions such as the National Labor Relations Board, whenever possible, as an absolute last resort.
Contact the Richmond, Virginia General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World at (804)496-1568