Apr 28, 2023 | News Story

Hundreds of NYC Greenmarket, Food Distribution, Composting, and Nutrition & Farming Education Workers at GrowNYC Locations in Talks with Company for Voluntary Union Recognition

On Wednesday, a delegation of workers representing nearly two hundred employees at around 70 GrowNYC Greenmarkets, farm stands, and CSA pick-up locations, and who work across GrowNYC’s operations in hundreds of schools in their distribution hubs and in nutrition education and composting announced they’re in talks with their employer over voluntary recognition. The workers also filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and are seeking representation with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

On Monday, workers sought voluntary recognition of their union from the large-scale non-profit. In advance of a GrowNYC Board Meeting, a delegation of workers from across the five boroughs shared with the organization’s Executive Director, Marcel Van Ooyen, that a strong majority of workers had signed RWDSU authorization cards. If voluntary recognition is made, workers at GrowNYC will begin bargaining their first contract swiftly as a result.

Workers across the GrowNYC locations face continued safety issues amid the rebound of New York City post-pandemic; workplace harassment including sexual harassment, unstable scheduling practices, seasonal layoffs with no call-back structure, a lack of structure when it comes to job duties and tasks at work, and favoritism by management. A union contract would begin to alleviate some of these issues.

“I’m entering my fifth season managing GrowNYC food access sites, which are essential gathering spaces for communities. But it’s incredibly disheartening that we are not compensated fairly for the emotional and physical labor needed for a public-facing role. From enduring hazardous weather conditions to the amount of harassment we tolerate on-site, GrowNYC’s neglect of its workers is a hindrance to the communities they allegedly serve,” said Kevin Capuno (He/Him), GrowNYC Greenmarket Site Lead, Brooklyn Borough Hall.

The workers in the proposed bargaining unit include all full- and part-time GrowNYC workers including Greenmarket, farmstand, food distribution, composting, and nutrition and farming education workers across the city. Read more here and in The New York Times!