Teamsters Seek Dollar General Vote in Latest Test of Union Clout
(Bloomberg) -- The Teamsters union is seeking a vote to organize a group of Dollar General Corp. warehouse workers in California, targeting a company that has repeatedly resisted past union efforts at a moment of increased clout for U.S. workers.
The union filed Nov. 5 for an election involving about 40 employees in West Sacramento, according to the docket of the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency responsible for enforcing labor rights and conducting unionization votes. The board holds votes when it determines that at least 30% of an appropriate potential bargaining unit has signed up with a union. If a majority of eligible voters then cast ballots in favor, the company is legally required to negotiate over a collective bargaining agreement.
The company didn’t immediately comment in response to an inquiry.
David Rosenfeld, an attorney for the Teamsters local that filed the petition, said the union has nearly unanimous support at the West Sacramento site. “This is just part of a remarkable resurgence of organizing interest by workers around the country,” Rosenfeld said in an interview. “Organizing season” has arrived, Rosenfeld said, thanks to the tight labor market, agitation over mistreatment during the pandemic, and the more union-friendly federal government.
The potential vote involves workers for the company’s DG Fresh business, an initiative to sell more fresh and frozen food, including dairy and deli products. Dollar General has been expanding that part of the business, announcing plans last year to open the West Sacramento cold-storage center and several other facilities.
Dollar General has faced other unionization efforts in recent years. Last month, the labor board conducted a vote among a handful of employees at a Dollar General store in Connecticut on whether they wished to join the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union. Two employees voted in favor, three voted against and two other voters’ eligibility was challenged, leaving the outcome of that vote unresolved until the agency determines whether those ballots should also be counted.
Workers at a Dollar General store in Missouri previously voted to unionize in 2017, but Dollar General contested that result for years in court, then announced last year that it would close that site.
“It’s a lot harder to close a distribution center,” Rosenfeld said.
Dollar General shares were down 1.8% at 3:04 p.m. in New York. The stock was up 7.3% this year through Nov. 5, trailing behind the 25% rise of the S&P 500 index.
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