Workers at MOM’s Organic Market in Baltimore Want a Voice at Work
Aug. 17, 2022 | More than 75 workers employed at MOM's Organic Market in Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood recently filed for an election to create the company's first union. They have gained the strong support of Baltimore City's District 14 Councilwoman Odette Ramos after sharing their story and asking for her help.
"I'm happy to support these workers' campaign for fair wages and better working conditions because they are the people feeding us. We should all support them," said Councilwoman Ramos. "I'm very proud of them for making this effort happen. It's a big step, and I support them 100%."
"We greatly appreciate having the solid support of Councilwoman Odette Ramos," said organizer Matthew who works in Coffee Roast.
"The only way we can empower ourselves at work and take charge of our working conditions is representation with Teamsters Local 570 in Baltimore. As Teamsters, we'll finally have a voice in the workplace," said Natalya, a MOMs Organic generalist and organizing committee member.
The market's essential workers began their organizing campaign earlier this year when issues of wage and safety concerns fell on management's deaf ears. In addition to higher start rates and raises, they seek paid time off, a fair sick leave policy and ADA accommodations, increased staffing and training, better safety measures in their workspace, and holiday pay.
"We are open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we are not allowed to have both days off. We are people too. We want to be treated like we matter," said Eleanor, a ten-year employee and committee member.
"I've had a lot of experience being taken advantage of in the workplace," said Matthew, who has worked in customer service since the age of 15 and whose family worked in the restaurant business. "When I got the job at MOMs, I knew it presented itself as pro-worker, so I assumed it would be different – a more supportive place. I quickly found out that wasn't the case, but rather more of a huge representation of lifestyle politics that had nothing to do with what it takes to take care of people." "Since our campaign went public, what is happening on site is quite shameful. CEO Scott Nash has said publicly he 'supports workers' but unions 'suck.' He has brought in union-busters to intimidate us and spread misinformation; it's really painful. We are trying to exert our federal rights under the law, and he is trying to break up our efforts rather than listen to our concerns."
A secret ballot election vote conducted by the National Labor Relations Board will be held on Friday, August 26, 2022.