Brattleboro Co-op workers look to unionize

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BRATTLEBORO - Some workers at the Brattleboro Food Co-op have unionized and the workers have asked the co-op's Board of Directors to voluntarily recognize the union.

The workers went before the board at the monthly meeting Monday night.

Co-op General Manager Alex Gyori said Tuesday that the board has authorized him to speak to the media about the ongoing union effort, but Gyori said he had no comment at this point.

"Right now we are figuring out what our next step is," he said.

"The board's position is the same as it always has been," Board President John Hatton said. "We support the staff's right to organize and be represented by a union if that is their choice. It is up to the staff to make that decision by themselves."

Some workers at the co-op tried to form in a union in 2003, but there was not enough support among the staff at that time to follow through.

The union drive in Brattleboro comes as workers at three other co-ops in the region have moved forward with their efforts to unionize.

The board at the River Valley Market in Northampton, Mass., voluntarily recognized the union after a majority of the workers there signed authorization cards supporting the union.

The union is negotiating with co-op management.

And in August the Franklin Community Coop Board of Directors, which oversees stores in Greenfield, Mass. and Shelburne Falls, Mass., also voluntarily recognized the union after a majority of the 75 workers in the two stores signed a petition requesting union representation.

The next Brattleboro Food Co-op Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 1.

The Co-op annual meeting will be held on Nov. 4.


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