Immigrant workers denounce Columbia Sussex’s union busting firm, MPI Consulting for its consulting work with Advance Pierre Foods. Advance Pierre Foods was taken to court for discriminatorily and unlawfully requiring document check that led to the suspension of Dianne Concepcion, an employee born in Puerto Rico and union supporter.
Background: In response to a drive by Le Merigot Santa Monica Housekeepers to organize, Columbia Sussex, the owner of the Le Merigot Santa Monica has retained Cincinnati-based MPI Consulting as its labor consultant. On its website MPI brags, “MPI Consulting has a 42 year history in over 350 campaigns with a more than 90% success rate in helping clients remain union free(1).”
In 2015 MPI was involved in a troubling anti-union campaign at Advance Advance Pierre Foods, where it was hired as an anti-union consultant. An Administrative Law Judge found that Advance Advance Pierre Foods client violated the rights of its employees under the National Labor Relations Act after it retained MPI Consulting(2).
Dianne Concepion, a pro-union employee from Puerto Rico spoke about issues at the factory on a Spanish-language radio show. Immediately after her appearance on the show, Concepcion’s bosses at Advance Pierre Foods, including Vice President of Human Resources Charles Aaderma(3), decided to unlawfully require her to provide new documents verifying her identity and then unlawfully suspended her when she did not comply with this unlawful demand by her employer. MPI Consulting subsequently hired Charles Aardema, the Senior Vice President of Human Resources as its Senior Associate Consultant. MPI Consulting celebrates its work on this campaign in its website(4). Aardema had overall responsibility for human resources for the entire company during the course of the union’s campaign(5).
In June 2016, an Administrative Law Judge ordered Advance Pierre Foods to desist from:
- Discriminatorily disciplining employees for their union activity
- engaging in surveillance of employee union activity by searching clipboards for union materials
- interrogating employees about the union activity of a coworker,
- surveilling employee activity by searching suspected union sympathizers Facebook pages
- discriminatorily demanding documentation of employee identities in retaliation for union activity
- Discriminatorily suspending any employee for failing to satisfy this unlawful demand.
Columbia Sussex should fire MPI Consulting because of its involvement in the campaign at Advance Pierre Foods.
1. http://managementperformance.com/practices/labor-relations/ Accessed 11/3/2016
2. Goldman, Dave. Advance Pierre vs. UFCW Local 75. JD-58-16. June 27th 2016. Page 7, Page 27.
3. Ibid. Page 30. “After the meeting, Ramirez called Concepcion back about five minutes later and told Concepcion that “we were going to need to request documents from her to prove her identity. Ramirez and Hayes then provided Concepcion with a memo, dated June 19, that Ramirez received pre-written from Aardema. The memo was directed to Diana Concepcion from Ramirez, with the subject line “Request – Additional Verification of Identity.” The memo stated: …’When a situation comes to our attention resulting in a reasonable concern suggesting an individual may not be who he/she claimed to be for employment purposes, it is AP's practice to request additional evidence to prove that the documentation provided at the time the I-9 was completed was valid. In line with this policy, and how prior similar situations have been handled, we asked you during our meeting on June 17th to provide us with additional evidence that the I-40 9 documents provided at the time of your employment were indeed valid and support that you are Diana Concepcion’”
4. http://managementperformance.com/mpi-consulting-announces-charles-aardema-senior-associate-consultant/. Also http://managementperformance.com/mpi-consulting-kicks-off-the-new-year-with-another-campaign-victory/ and this NLRB Election report confirming this was the date of the election at Advance Pierre https://www.nlrb.gov/case/09-RC-165455 All websites Accessed 11/3/2016|
5. Goldman, Dave. Advance Pierre vs. UFCW Local 75. JD-58-16. June 27th 2016. http://apps.nlrb.gov/link/document.aspx/09031d45821400c6. Page 61-62 Page 4