Protest targets Franklin Street Bakery after workers allege retaliation, intimidation

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Workers and supporters rally outside Franklin Street Bakery.

 

Rosa Baires says Franklin Street Bakery gave her permission to leave her job to travel to New York and care for her dying ex-husband earlier this year. But when she returned, she found herself out of a job.

“I’m very sure that they did fire me because I signed the petition for the union,” Baires said today at a rally outside the Minneapolis bakery, where more than 50 people stood in solidarity with the embattled workers.

Since its organizing drive began this spring, Local 22 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union has filed “at least a dozen” charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging Franklin Street Bakery violated workers’ rights, Local 22 Vice President Wally Borgan said.

And the NLRB can expect another charge this week. Ned Neterval, a lead worker on one of Franklin Street’s dough forming lines, said the baker’s general manager ordered him to stop talking to his co-workers in the break room yesterday about the rally and future union meetings.

“I told him to stop harassing me and go away,” Neterval said. “Eventually he did, but before that he called me a pain in the ass, which was a compliment to me.

“I might be fired, but then there will be another NLRB charge.”

It’s not the first time employer-employee relations have soured at Franklin Street Bakery. The company unleashed a textbook anti-union campaign 10 years ago after workers petitioned for a union election, which they lost by 12 votes.

Ned Neterval is among the workers working to organize a union at Franklin Street Bakery.

Ned Neterval is among the workers working to organize a union at Franklin Street Bakery.

“They’re using the same playbook, but the attack is a lot different this time,” Borgan said. “Rallies like this are going to keep happening unless these workers get justice.”

Starting pay for the roughly 100 workers at Franklin Street Bakery is $11 per hour, and workers say the company’s draconian attendance policy provides management with an excuse not to offer many raises.

In addition, Franklin Street Bakery workers get no paid holidays, and most cannot afford the premiums to enroll in the company-sponsored health insurance plan.

“Some line leaders have gone three years without a raise,” Neterval said. “Paid time off is the only affordable benefit they provide.”

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Comments

  1. I get fired because the shift manager ask me to help him to go out with my little sister and he can give me a raised or more benefits in the work. I told him that he was using his power and he was a really bad manager. I went to talk with human resources in the work and they don’t do nothing. My shift manager make me do more work that the other people and he always was yelling at me. They never give me a raised and I was working for more that a year! That company is the worse they don’t respect the workers.

  2. Brittney Koziol says:

    Half the time they wouldn’t even pay people all there money, scamming it out of hard working people who work over time for months straight. One time Sam was missing about 300+ from his paycheck. Took away our breaks also. Happy to hear they employees are finally taking a stand!

  3. Naida Medicine Crow says:

    These guys received community block grant funding to employ Native Americans and they don’t fullfill that obligation either. I’ve worked with so many employees in the past with complaints from there. They do not treat their staff well at all. I’m glad something is finally getting done regarding these guys.

  4. Mariah gurneau says:

    I got terminated on the spot be cause I left the floor 3 time to get water within 6 hours of my shift, I was baker, In the middle of summer. The G.M told me I left 10 times and when I politely told him it was only 3, he try to intimidate me and walk closer asking if I was calling him a liar and I asked for him to then show me proof and he got upset that I’d ask that he told be I was fired. That whole incident happened next to the break room were some Co workers seen and heard it all, after I left, 3 of them quit and walked behind me!

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