Hanover Co-op Settles With Labor Board and Union
Lebanon — The Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society has made a no-fault settlement with the National Labor Relations Board and the Massachusetts-based UFCW 1459 over a charge that the Co-op impeded workers’ efforts to unionize at the Lebanon Food Store.
The resolution, dated Sept. 17, calls for changes to employee policies and the erasure of disciplinary marks against employees who supported a push to organize. The move to form a union failed, 70-31, in a July vote at the Lebanon Store.
The decision also provides for the reinstatement with back pay of Caren Giaccone, an employee there who said she was terminated over her union activities. The Co-op, however, had already announced her re-hiring in June.
“There’s no admission of wrongdoing here,” Co-op spokesman Allan Reetz said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “We’re really looking to put this behind us.”
Reetz said this was the last of a handful of NLRB complaints to be settled or withdrawn since the firing of two employees in June 2014 touched off a labor dispute at the grocery cooperative.
As part of the settlement, the Co-op will expunge the disciplinary record of Kristin Henault, a clerk at the Lebanon store who supported a union.
“Although the election was unsuccessful, we have made real change at the Co-op and will continue to stand up for what’s right,” Henault said in a union news release. “Workers and member-owners have been coming together to improve this co-op for several years and much more will be done to ensure Co-op Food Stores lives up to its cooperative principles.”
The Co-op is also required to revise or remove rules appearing in its employee handbook relating to policies on confidentiality, solicitation, and use of cellphones, computers, social media and email.