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Federal judge orders Wisconsin supermarket to restore full-time hours to employees

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A federal judge has ordered a Piggly Wiggly supermarket in Sheboygan, Wisconsin to restore full-time status and health insurance to employees whose hours were reduced to part-time without bargaining with their union, and to refrain from making such unilateral changes in the future.

At the request of the National Labor Relations Board, Chief Judge C.N. Clevert, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin also ordered the supermarket to immediately offer reinstatement to four employees who resigned after their hours were reduced. The temporary injunction will continue until the underlying case is resolved by the NLRB. 

According to a complaint issued by the NLRB Regional Office in Milwaukee, supermarket managers reduced the hours of 19 employees without notice, citing the impending opening of a non-union competitor nearby. The move to part-time status also resulted in the loss of health insurance.

Supermarket employees are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 1473. At the time of the reduction of hours, Piggly Wiggly managers berated union officials for not helping the employees in letters that were posted on the bulletin board. Judge Clevert noted “the unilateral reductions, open hostility to the Union, [and] efforts to undermine the Union’s credibility” in issuing the injunction, which restores the Union’s bargaining position and requires that future changes to employee status be negotiated with the union.

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