Updated: Jan 31
At the Utah-based grocery chain Harmons, workers' pamphlets calling for a union have been found across multiple stores, one of which has gone viral across Reddit.
This is one of two known fliers to have been placed around by workers at two different locations. Both of these pieces of propaganda emphasize the income inequality between the Board of Directors, who do not labor for a living, and the average store-level associate.
...the Harmons Board of Directors get an average rate of compensation (bonuses) of $212,000 per year, with some going as high as $430,000 per year in addition to having the company pay for their phones, cars, and gas... Many people that have been with the company for years still make less than $20 an hour. which even at full-time would still be considered below the poverty line for a family of four (https://www.arriveutah.org/poverty-utah). That is ridiculous. No one should need multiple full-time jobs just to support a small family, especially after years of company loyalty.
Another key idea of the pamphlets deals with the hypocrisy of the corporation claiming to value the employees or associates, while simultaneously mistreating them. One flier reads:
In every single meeting, class, and orientation, we are asked to recite the company mission statement: “To value the associate, and to exceed customers’ expectations.” This is brought up so often because they are eager to talk about the uniqueness of valuing the associate above the customer. If they consistently demonstrated this ‘unique perspective’ with their actions, they would pay us above-market wages, they would lower the price mark-ups on everyday items, they would make sure that the associates are treated better, that we were fully-staffed so we would not work 60+ hours a week, damaging our physical and mental health, to line their pockets.
Another flier simply stated:
Harmons makes more than enough money to pay all of its associates fairly, but despite the cost of living continuing to skyrocket, the board of directors would rather pay starvation wages so that they can keep their fat bonuses and free cars. Harmons claims to value its associates yet refuses to make changes that benefit them
In case this critique of disingenuously claiming to value their employees needed to be proven further, Red Hive Collective has been informed through various internal sources who wished to remain anonymous that the company has hired an anti-union lawyer and required managers to sit through anti-union propaganda. One source told Red Hive:
…all managers were put on a call with the anti-union lawyer who fed them with anti-union propaganda and how unions hurt businesses … all managers are keeping watch on groups trying to organize and picketing against them. They will fire anyone who does so…
The corporate heads of the company are telling all their employees that they are valued while paying them poverty-line wages, and using the excess profits to fund a legal team to prevent the employees from bettering their economic situation. And no less, this comes after a year-long marketing campaign, both internally and in the public eye about how the Harmons workers were essential workers and superheroes for working non-stop throughout the pandemic.
But there is hope: The workers are beginning to recognize that they do not have to take the exploitation lying down. The anonymous writer-worker said: “Unionizing is what will allow us to collectively bargain for our rights as workers… Harmons is exploiting its workers, and it is long past time to form a union to combat that.”
Despite the threat of the company to violate federal law (NLRA of 1935), workers push on because “the voice of people that want to unionize does not deserve to be silenced.”
We must help the workers' movement! Activists and organizations, reach out to us and we will provide the link for the meeting on how we can assist in the movement. Fill out the form if you'd be able to attend on Feb. 1st at 7 p.m. in the effort of Unionizing Harmon's workers:
If you are employed at Harmons, reach out to us and we will get in contact with you.