In recent weeks, a Maine-based trailer manufacturer, ALCOM, and Maine’s largest medical marijuana company, Wellness Connection of Maine (WCM), have reportedly faced accusations that they retaliated against employees who tried to organize labor unions. Complaints have been filed against both employers with the National Labor Relations Board. The complaints allege, among other things, that the employers fired employees because they tried to organize unions.
With respect to ALCOM, a group of employees began to meet earlier this month to discuss organizing a union. Shortly afterwards, ALCOM fired four employees who attended those meetings as well as a fifth employee who supported the formation of a union. “This is a clear example of an employer firing people for union activity and trying to create a climate of fear in the workplace when workers are trying to organize,” said Matt Schlobohm, executive director of the Maine AFL-CIO. ALCOM, of course, denies any wrongdoing.
With respect to WCM, the alleged retaliation arose on the heels of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) citing the company for 20 state code violations. DHHS discovered the code violations when it conducted a surprise inspection after it received information from a whistleblower who worked for WCM. In a statement issued by the Maine AFL-CIO, one of the workers who claims that WCM retaliated against her for union organizing activities, Barbara Heap, said “for months me and my co-workers were forced to break the law as a practice of business at WCM. When we took a stand and joined together to address our health and safety concerns, we were intimidated and retaliated against.” WCM, like ALCOM, denies any wrongdoing.