City Feed Employees File Petition to Unionize

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Employees of City Feed and Supply's two Jamaica Plain stores have filed a petition to form a union.

"The workers of City Feed and Supply are organizing for the right to collectively bargain for equitable and living wages, healthcare and benefits, and a voice at work over issues of safety, harassment, COVID sick leave, and other working conditions that affect our physical, emotional, and financial well-being," says an ipetitions.com site encouraging people to support for the workers union movement.

WGBH reported that employees want to join the Boston branch of the Industrial Workers of the World union, which represents about 9,000 workers across the country. City Feed employees are part of a movement across the region of employees of small businesses looking to unionize.

WGBH reported that 30 percent of workers need to sign cards or a petition in support of a union for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold an election. At least 60 percent of City Feed employees are in support of joining a union.

The employees are asking City Feed for voluntary recognition rather than a formal NLRB vote. The owners can decide to do that and skip the formal election, given that employees have a solid majority of staff signed on. If the owners say no, they can opt for an NLRB vote.

The employees stressed that they are happy working at City Feed.

"We love working at City Feed, and are proud to work at a small business that is a central part of the JP community. It is our belief that we need a union and the ability to collectively bargain for City Feed to be a sustainable place for service workers to work long-term and thrive. We value our relationships with customers, we care for each other, and we see the possibility of a better future for ourselves and the community as a whole," says the ipetition.

Owners David Warner and Kristine Cortese told WGBH via email that the owners are working on "a better understanding of what all of this means" and will need to think about it before deciding on what to do next.

City Feed is well-liked throughout the area, often partnering with local organizations and nonprofits such as JP Local First, Jamaica Plain Centre South Main Streets, while supporting sustainable farming and businesses and food equity. Warner and City Feed supported having a community fridge placed in behind the Centre Street store.

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