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United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 700 has filed a lawsuit against Indianapolis-based Marsh Supermarkets, alleging the grocer used illegal interrogation practices and unlawfully terminated a worker for exercising his right to organize.
Marsh Supermarkets spokeswoman Connie Gardner told Progressive Grocer: "We will vigorously defend ourselves against these unfounded allegations by the UFCW. Marsh has successfully operated stores for 79 years in an environment where employee satisfaction, customer service and mutual respect are top priorities. We feel strongly that people need to understand the truth about our company."
For its part, UFCW Local 700 claims workers were left "to fend for themselves" after the chain was sold to Boca Raton, Fla.-based private equity firm Sun Capital Partners. "Workers will not stand for these unfair labor practices," said Joe Chorpenning, president of Logansport, Ind.-based UFCW Local 700. "Marsh Supermarkets must realize that the associates are the backbone of the company."
The charges come after a series of attempts by Marsh workers to "have their voices heard," according to press statements released from UFCW Local 700. Earlier this month, Marsh workers and Indiana community leaders marched on Marsh's headquarters and delivered a petition signed by more than 5,000 community members asking the company's CEO to meet with Marsh workers about "the future direction of the company."
Marsh Supermarkets operates roughly 100 supermarkets in Indiana and Ohio under its eponymous banner name, as well as Marsh Hometown Markets, Marsh the Marketplace, and O'Malia's Food Markets.