Key Food Union: Workers Have “Outstanding” Contract

In response to our story about worker Mamodou “Mohammed” Doucoure’s allegations of employee mistreatment at the Montague Street Key Food, Patrick Purcell Jr., Director of Special Projects, UFCW Local 1500 writes to BHB:

Any member who feels they have not been properly represented has a legal right to go to the National Labor Relations Board. Each time Mr. Doucoure has gone to the NLRB, the complaints have been dismissed by the Board.  That means Local 1500 has been found by the NLRB to have properly represented Mr. Doucoure.

In regards to the lawsuit you are referring to, the Union cannot comment on any pending legal matter.

I will say that the members of Local 1500 at the Key Food in question have an outstanding contract that provided among other things completely paid for health insurance, pensions completely funded by the employer, dental, vision and legal insurance and of course good wages. The level of each benefit is different according to part-time/full time status.

Local 1500 has an outstanding record representing their members and each week hundreds of grievances are handled in over 300 stores from the Hamptons to Poughkeepsie. However, if a person feels that we did adequately do our job, they have that right to go to the NLRB.  Regarding this individual, the NLRB has found that he has been fairly represented.

Again, the lawsuit is a separate and pending legal matter that I cannot comment on.

Any worker in that store who feels they need to be represented should call Paul Santarpia at 1-800-522-0456 at ext 255.  A message can be left 24 hours a day and he will be happy to assist them.

In Solidarity,
Patrick Purcell Jr.
Director of Special Projects, UFCW Local 1500

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  • nabeguy

    Pure obfuscation. What good is a contract, “outstanding” or otherwise, if it requires you to work for a couple of morons?

  • yo

    and people wonder why unions are dying….

  • heightsman

    and people wonder why everything about key food sucks

  • neighbor

    Whether or not they have an “outstanding” contract is irrelevant. How they bring it up shows they’re not truly on the workers side (“Look at those greedy workers… we gave them a good contract, and now they want us to defend them too? How dare they !”)

  • Labor Lawyer

    For a union employee to win a “breach of a duty of fair representation” claim against a union is very difficult. This is presumably the type of claim referred to by Mr. Purcell in his letter. For better or worse, a union is afforded by the National Labor Relations Board a great deal of discretion on how to represent a union member. For a union to win a case doesn’t mean it acted appropriately, only that the NLRB determined that there was a great deal of discretion given to the union under applicable law; the union still could have made the wrong decision and the NLRB would still find in the union’s favor.

    It is also worth pointing out that under applicable federal law, a union member’s grievance is “owned” not by the union member but the union. Under the labor law, the grievance is not about a union member but the union’s rights under the collective bargaining agreement. Thus, a grievance is about vindicating the union’s rights and not the union member’s rights. This is why many union members are unhappy with unions, namely because there is a tension between what the union wants and what the union member wants. This is why the NLRB gives the union discretion and which is why the union can say they acted appropriately, even though the union’s decision may be exactly contrary to the best interests of the union member.

    Like it or not, this is how the labor law works regardless of whether it is under a Democratic or Republican administration.