A new union election at Allan Bros. will be held later this year under a settlement reached between the Naches fruit packing company, Trabajadores Unidos Por La Justicia and the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board.
The agreement among all parties was reached last week, according to the docket for several unfair labor practice complaints filed by the union.
The settlement came days before a scheduled hearing on the complaints, which contended that Allan Bros. hindered TUJ’s organization efforts and caused an unsuccessful election at the end of last year. During the mail-in election, employees voted 234-25 against union representation.
The general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board found merit in the charges. Allan Bros. said it disagreed with the union’s claims and was prepared to address them during the hearing.
A news release from Columbia Legal Services outlined several settlement terms, including NLRB setting aside the previous election results and scheduling a new one later this year. Columbia Legal Services represented the union with Kathy Barnard of Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt LLP.
Allan Bros. attorney Sarah Wixson said on Friday the company denies it engaged in any unfair labor practices or that its conduct affected the election’s outcome. She is with Stokes, Lawrence, Velikanje Moore & Shore.
“At its core, whether employees want union representation is not an Allan Bros. decision, a Union decision, or even the NLRB’s decision — it’s the employees’ decision,” Wixson said in an email. “So, after careful consideration, Allan Bros has agreed to step aside, have another election, and let the employees’ voices be heard.”
Under the settlement, Allan Bros. will have to post and distribute notices to employees detailing employees’ right to unionize.
The company also agreed to pay $15,000 to former employee Cesar Traverzo, Columbia Legal Services said. The union claimed Traverzo was suspended and fired because of his involvement in unionization efforts.
Allan Bros. maintains Traverzo was terminated because of health and safety violations, and the Labor Relations Board did not reach a final determination regarding the claim, Wixson said.
Last May, a group of Allan Bros. employees walked out of the job to voice concerns about COVID-19 safety measures and pay. The Allan Brothers protest ended after several weeks when a committee representing the protesting workers signed a return-to-work agreement. Those workers still pursued unionization efforts, concerned that the company would not fulfill its end of the agreement and address other workplace issues.
Angie Lara, vice president of TUJ, said she is happy the case resulted in a settlement.
“We began to organize because we deserve to be treated with respect and to feel safe in our workplace,” she said in a statement.
Joanna Markell contributed to this article.