Organic food giant, Amy’s Kitchen, becomes the ultimate union buster
Photo via Twitter/@Gritty20202

SAN JOSE, Calif. (PAI)—In what can be considered the ultimate in union-busting, Amy’s Kitchen sent plant-closing letters to all 300-plus workers at its San Jose, Calif., plant on July 18, a month after Unite HERE filed labor law-breaking complaints against the organic frozen foods company for firing two pro-union workers campaigning to organize there.

The letters, from acting Chief Operating Officer Fred Scargulla, said the last day the workers would get paid would be September 16 and the last day of medical benefits would be two weeks later for workers whose employment began before May 19. For those hired since May 19, the paychecks and benefits would end one month earlier.

But both groups of workers—in other words, everyone at the plant—were “relieved of your duties on July 19,” Scargulla said.

Scargulla’s letter, posted on Twitter by MorePerfectUS, a pro-union organization, complies with the federal WARN Act, the decades-old labor-pushed law requiring any firm with at least 100 workers to give them 60 days’ notice of closures or major cuts in employment.

The notice is supposed to give workers time to adjust and find new jobs, communities time to find alternative ways—such as new buyers—to keep a plant open, and state unemployment systems time to gear up to handle the additional workload.

Amy’s blamed the closing on “significant challenges in the last year,” corporate-speak for alleged money problems. Scargulla was not specific. He said workers could apply to transfer to its other plants.

Via tweets to the pro-worker community group Silicon Valley Rising, Unite HERE Local 19, which is trying to organize the San Jose plant, reported working conditions there prompted the unionization campaign.

“Following complaints of poor working conditions, such as lack of bathroom breaks and penalties for taking sick days, management at Amy’s Kitchen Is now requiring workers to attend anti-union meetings. Two workers have been fired for supporting a union,” Local 19 said.  “Workers should be able to fight for better conditions without fear.”

Bloomberg reported the Teamsters are conducting a similar organizing drive—for the same reasons revolving around working conditions—at Amy’s Santa Rosa, Calif., plant.

Threatening to close a plant in the face of an organizing drive breaks federal labor law, as does firing pro-union workers for talking union. That last offense prompted Unite HERE to file labor law-breaking complaints with the National Labor Relations Board’s regional office covering San Jose.


Press Associates
Press Associates

Press Associates Inc. (PAI), is a union news service in Washington D.C. Mark Gruenberg is the editor.