Ryan is a long standing employee at the New Seasons Market's Seven Corners Store, having worked for the company since August 2002. During his term of employment, Ryan has consistently received very positive performance reviews from his supervisors. He has no attendance issues, and has never received any previous warnings regarding allegations of theft prior to his termination.
Workers at Seven Corners are fully cognizant of the real motivations behind management’s decision to terminate Ryan. For years, Ryan has been active in a wide variety of efforts to improve workplace conditions regarding safety, health benefits, wage discrepancies, and worker equality within the company.
Most recently, workers at Seven Corners have been actively participating in a series of “coffee talk” meetings with Lisa Sedlar and other company executives. At these meetings, held on January 12 and February 2, workers from the store presented a long series of concerns regarding disciplinary practices, pay inequities, store morale, and company direction. Ryan was instrumental in encouraging employees to attend these meetings, and was a part of the voice that made suggestions for increased worker democracy and advocacy within the company.
Employees at New Seasons Market are regularly encouraged by management to “Speak Up!” regarding their suggestions and concerns. It is clear that they are comfortable when employees do this on an individual level. The attitude starts to change, however, when we come together and begin to act collectively, and speak with a unified voice.
Workers at NSM Seven Corners are aware that our friend and co-worker, Ryan Gaughan, was terminated from employment at our store on February 6, 2012. The reason given for Ryan’s termination was that he allegedly was not paying for all of his lunch items from the store deli.
We strongly believe that Ryan’s termination has nothing to do with allegations of not paying for rice or tofu. The motivation associated for their actions has more to do with their fear of worker concerted activity than it does with lost profit margin. Ryan’s advocacy for and solidarity with his fellow employees presents a direct threat to management’s total control over our working conditions, and he was summarily terminated for this alleged minor violation in order protect the bottom line.
We believe that Ryan’s termination is in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Section 7, which states:
“Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection…”
Under the guise of enforcing a “zero tolerance” theft rule policy, we believe that management selectively singled Ryan out as a result of his participation in these legally protected acts. To that end, we are in support of Ryan and his decision to file an Unfair Labor Practice charge against New Seasons Market, which will initiate a government investigation into the grounds for his termination. We have faith that the National Labor Relations Board, the agency which enforces the NLRA, will find in his favor.
We call upon New Seasons Market to do the following:
1. Reinstate Ryan immediately; same job, same hours, and payment for lost wages since his termination on February 7.
2. Collaborate with workers to establish a peer-review system regarding disciplinary actions and terminations. Workers are entitled to have a peer witness present during disciplinary meetings, and the ability to directly contest disciplinary actions made by management. A meeting in the Seven Corners conference room to begin implementing these rights should take place no later than 60 days after this notice.
For more info: www.newseasonsmarketworkersvoice.org