Charges before the NLRB gets three workers’ jobs ordered reinstated at Greater Omaha Packing Co.

Omaha, Nebraska – On December 27, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that the Greater Omaha Packing Company had violated the rights of three workers last year and ordered the company to offer them reinstatement and give them full back pay and benefits. On May 14, 2012, a number of workers in the plant decided to participate in a planned work stoppage in an effort to gain pay increases and a reduction in the speed of the production line.  When the plant management became aware of these plans, three workers were fired and removed from the plant by security.

“When they told me I was fired, I didn’t understand why.  But I soon felt as if my world came crashing down around me,” stated Carlos Zamora, a worker in the case.

Soon after being fired, the workers contacted the Heartland Workers Center (HWC) to see if they could somehow challenge the firings.  It was determined that contacting the NLRB would be the best option because the workers planned to participate in a protected labor activity.  Although the plant is non-union, under the NLRA, workers have the right to act together to improve working conditions and benefits.  A complaint was filed under the auspices of the HWC, and the case was heard by an Administrative Law Judge on October 31 and November 1, 2012.

The judge ruled in favor of the workers.  As a result of the ruling, Greater Omaha Packing Company was given 14 days to offer full reinstatement to the three workers to their former jobs or the equivalent, provide them with full back pay and benefits, and post a notice that states the rights of workers under the NLRA and the decision of the case.

Susana Salgado Martinez, another worker in the case stated, “I am pleased with the decision.  It shows that with a little help, patience, and perseverance, you can achieve something and our rights as workers can be protected.”

“The mission of the HWC is to teach, promote, and defend the rights of all workers,” said Sergio Sosa, HWC Executive Director.  “This ruling is not only a major victory for the aggrieved workers but underscores the value of the HWC in our community.  We hope it will be used to improve the relationship between employers and employees as we begin to build a community that works for all.”

The NLRB decision is a public document and available on the NLRB’s website (http://nlrb.gov/case/17-CA-085735).

HWC PRESS RELEASE