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Union rejected by Woodman's

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JAMES P. LEUTE
December 16, 2009
— Barring any last-minute objections, a union will not represent workers at Woodman’s Food Market in Janesville.

In weekend voting, 123 workers cast ballots in opposition to representation by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1473.


Sixty-five employees voted in favor of the union, which needed a majority of the ballots cast for certification. About 230 employees were eligible to vote over the weekend.


The election was the result of a union petition on behalf of a “substantial number” of employees who wished to be represented by Local 1473 for purposes of collective bargaining.


The union is familiar to Woodman’s employees; it represented the workers for decades—until earlier this year.


The union and Woodman’s management have been at odds for nearly two years.


In early 2008, more than one-third of the 950 employees at Woodman’s stores in Janesville, Beloit and Madison signed a petition to decertify Local 1473.


A few weeks later, more than 500 Woodman’s employees signed a second petition that called for Woodman’s to immediately pull its recognition of Local 1473 as the employees’ bargaining unit.


The case generated charges and countercharges of unfair labor practices, weeks of testimony, thousands of pages of transcripts and hundreds of exhibits.


As the National Labor Relations Board investigated into this year, the two sides agreed to a settlement that essentially dismissed all allegations and decertified the union as the employees’ bargaining unit.


The results of the weekend voting won’t become official for seven days. In the interim, the union can file objections to the election.


Union officials were unavailable Tuesday to comment on whether any objection would be filed.


If the election results stand, union supporters would have to wait 12 months before petitioning for another election.


“The employer is happy that the employees had an opportunity to vote,” said Fred Grubb, the consultant hired by Woodman’s to represent it before the National Labor Relations Board.



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