Submitted on Mar, 02/15/2005 - 10:03am
February, 15, 2005
The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint last week against Wild Oats Natural Foods for the firing of union organizer, Tom Kappas. The Industrial Workers of the World has been struggling to re instate Kappas for the past seven months in a campaign aimed at restoring fairness to how the company deals with union organizing. The campaign has turned out several nationwide pickets, a petition with over 500 supporters, and now a complaint from the N.L.R.B.
Kappas was fired on July, 10, 2004 for discounting less than 2 pounds of rotten produce. The produce manager gave permission to discount spoiled produce to all produce employees and then during the firing interview said he never approved discounts. The store director, Fred Meyer, then fired Tom for the discount even after Kappas produced a receipt for the produce. Meyer initiated a random bag search the night before.
The labor board decision is an excellent turning point in a campaign that escalated Wild Oats to make slanderous remarks about Kappas. Wild Oats has received many emails and phone calls made by concerned I.W.W. members and supporters.
Submitted on Ven, 07/30/2004 - 10:06am
By Stephanie Dunlap - Cincinatti City Beat, July 30, 2004
Tom Kappas believes he was fired from Wild Oats in order to suppress his and others' efforts to unionize the Norwood store.
Wild Oats' Norwood store might be more concerned with the fair treatment of coffee farmers a continent away than with fair treatment of its own workers. Though the sign in front of the natural foods store in Rookwood Commons trumpets the fair trade coffee inside, its store director fired Tom Kappas, who'd been openly leading an employee union drive, for what many consider a trumped-up charge: stealing 19 cents worth of fruit.
Before Kappas, a two-year veteran of the produce department, ended his Friday night shift July 9, he rang up a bag of tortilla chips, a bottle of Samuel Smith Organic Lager and $.19 in produce. According to Kappas' written statement -- which he provided to CityBeat -- the manager on duty for the night stopped him before he left and asked to search his bags and see receipts. Kappas produced the fruit and the paperwork.
The manager said Kappas shouldn't have discounted the fruit, but Kappas told him that the produce manager allowed his employees to buy old or damaged produce at 10 cents per pound. Kappas then threw the produce in the trash and left.