Legislator Harckham Calls For Mrs. Green's Boycott

  • Comments (14)
Legislator Peter Harckham is calling for a boycott of Mrs. Green's, citing its unfair labor practices. Photo Credit: File Photo

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- In light of being cited for unfair labor practices, Legislator Peter Harckham (D-North Salem) is calling for a boycott of Mrs. Green's Natural Market.

Mrs. Green's Natural Market, which has locations throughout Westchester and Fairfield, has been battling with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1500 over its attempt to organize at its Mount Kisco location.

According to LoHud, the workers filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board shortly before a union vote in May and settled with Mrs. Green's in November. 

Two months ago, Mrs. Green's fired the nine employees who supported the union, citing "poor customer service."

Harckham has joined the workers who are picketing at its Mount Kisco location. Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer (D-Yonkers) has also supported and joined the picketers.

"Their mission statement is to promote health and sustainability but they don't apply to the same standards to their employees," Harckham said. "Employees have a right to attempt to organize. This is unconscionable."

Mrs. Green's did not respond to a request for comment.

Harckham said he will not shop at any Mrs. Green's location until they hire the employees back.

"This is not keeping with the values of Westchester County," Harckham said. "They are a holistic neighborhood market but treat their employees in horrendous fashion."

Harckham said he was a weekly shopper to Mrs. Green's, going to its Katonah location to get his vitamins.

"We are getting reasonable minded people to open their eyes and see how this store treats its employees," Harckham said. "We are sending a message to management- this is not acceptable. I have a bully pulpit, and it's my responsibility to say something."

Harckham said he would go to Whole Foods or get his vitamins online. A new vitamin store also opened in Bedford Hills. 

"We want to attract people and companies to Westchester," Harckham said. "What does this say to the workers in Westchester?"

Reaction to Harckham's boycott on his Facebook page has been positive.

"Thank God there's farmer's markets," Jacques Saisselin said. "Thank you for taking a very public and courageous stand on this one."

The UFCW also expressed its support for the boycott.

"This is what we need from all of our elected officials, accountability," the UFCW posted. 

  • 14
    Comments

Comments (14)

Rachel 13:

Who buys vitamins? What a non-story.

light0122:

I frequent Mrs. Greens, both in Katonah and Mount Kisco. I can see by the demeanor of the workers that perhaps conditions aren't always as sunny as the company would like to project. The renovation of the Mount Kisco store is hideous and that is a common sentiment among friends I know who shop there. If competing with Whole Foods was the intention Mrs. Greens needs to go back to the drawing board and perhaps ask the customers and staff what wage, benefits, working conditions, design and colors they think would work. In terms of worker conditions the issue goes beyond unions, legislators, comments made here on this board that take a side but rather to the fundamental way we treat each other. Until companies recognize that profit is NOT the sole reason they are in business than these types of discriminatory practices will continue. The staff has the right to unionize if the conditions are not in keeping with current labor standards (those could use some updating as well). I support the workers and will let them know that when I visit the store. Protesting, boycotts and unions are a cornerstone of American democracy!

jp10591:

A friend was working for Mrs. Green's. After being repeatedly harassed by management, and not being paid for hours worked in a very unprofessional atmosphere, this person quit the $8.50 per hour job. This is at a business that charges $8 for a bag of apples. During training they were told that they are to physically bring customers to the item they are looking for, and that the first time they are caught pointing to an item, they would be fired. From what I understand, when the union approached the workers at the Mt. Kisco location, they were told that if they voted to join, they would lose their jobs. Doesn't seem like a great place to work.

John J. Bigelow:

A liberal democrat is supporting a union. Why is that news and why should I care what Legislator Harckham thinks? If someone has a problem with Mrs. Green's, don't shop there. It's as simple as that.

bill of rights:

just pay the employees 1 dollar an hour . or will work for food, youre short sighted not seeing an institution against a single individual as fair. a union has power and our legislators havent been enforcing the labor laws for decades. if the employees vote for unionization ,mrs greens can go to another state to sell its products. simple as that.

dale.frehse:

As usual, we aren't given all the details about what the nine workers wanted, how that played out, why decisions were made and the specific economic impact on everyone. We are so incompletely informed so often. Politicians are quick to label and inflame. As Harckham said, he has the "bully" pulpit and is using it. But what really happened and don't businesses have rights too?

I am Concerned:

I agree, there's more to this story.
Mrs. Green's serves our local area. I'm in Mahopac. It's not fancy, but reliable.
Sure, the Politicos and soccer moms have the time and $$ to shop at Whole Foods, I don't.

Mr Harkham, why not go after Stop & Shop and A &P?? How do they treat their employees?

Get real, some of us actually work for our meager livings.
You sir ARE a bully and a snob. Pffft

dale.frehse:

As usual, we aren't given all the details about what the nine workers wanted, how that played out, why decisions were made and the specific economic impact on everyone. We are so incompletely informed so often. Politicians are quick to label and inflame. As Harckham said, he has the "bully" pulpit and is using it. But what really happened and don't businesses have rights too?

tinman:

Thank you Legislator Hackman for your pro worker stance. To "Native New Yorker", do you also support doing away with ending corporate benefits such as limited liability and tax breaks? You seem to forget where workers would be without the benefits that unions won for them, and that workers have a right to organize. Legislator Hackman.... studies show that most vitamins are useless and it's better to eat a healthy diet.

JacqueRoche:

Thank you for this article. However, I have not shopped in Mrs Greens for years, because of the high prices, and I can get the same items from Trader Joe's or Stew Leonard's. The only thing I took from this article is that Harckham is pro union, and that I need to stay out of Katonah proper due to a strike.

wildplaces:

Mrs. Green's has changed since it's sale last year and their new grandiose expansion plans all over the U.S. at the expense of what has made it special to me (they have discontinued most of the specialty store branded salads, fruits, nuts, baked goods and salads that attracted health-minded customers, even if low margin goods). They now seem more commercial and profit oriented than customer-oriented since the sale, and their new cookie cutter store redesigns have been less than customer and employee friendly (e.g. one store redesign I visited moved the checkout counter into a corner of the store, right next to the entrance to the manager's office, with no place for a line to form). Although I have been a customer for more than a decade, I will stop shopping their stores until they re-hire the employees.

Native New Yorker:

Ever wonder why Unionized states like New York are in deep financial trouble, without real jobs that create wealth by making things people want to buy.

Businesses leave or refuse to come here unless they are bribed like our current NY "ten year" no tax program. What happens after ten years - bye, bye.

You and I paid big bucks to have NBCs "Late Show" actors to stay in New York. Good jobs; who pockets your tax money - the fat cats at COMCAST ?

Wake up, smell the roses we are going down the tubes.

bill of rights:

you r so wrong about ny being in financial ruin. ny pensions were funded fully where as red states are in trouble because they didnt fund their pensions. also the high cost of living in ny is atributtable to the high taxes. make more money here and retire to red states down south with your big yankee money. do you have any idea how many college educated people are making less than 25k a year in ny? wake up, even union mrs greens employees will have a hard time getting by.

momma4:

Did I hear correctly that Mrs. Green's also has plans to take over the A&P space in Katonah in 2015?

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