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Ruth Ann Kirk, Martha Smith and Glenda Burton allege that they were terminated for union discussions.


Judge to render decision in April in Food City union case


LOUISA -- The Retail, Wholesale, Department Store Union filed a lawsuit against Food City in November 2010 in Lawrence Circuit Court for 'Wrongful Termination' of employees Ruth Ann Kirk, Martha Smith and Glenda Burton who allege in the lawsuit that they were terminated by Louisa Food City management for "union discussions". During the fall of 2010, the former employees were terminated.

Representatives of Food City claim that all three were terminated due to being in the break room while on the clock, repeated tardiness, being in an unauthorized area (receiving) and dismissal for a position that was no longer needed. No one from Food City returned phone calls for comment.

Meetings were held either at a Rocky Tops Pizza, a personal residence, or in the Food City parking lot. After the suit was filed there were no more union meetings, those involved instead exchanged phone calls. The three fired workers didn't want to make a final statement until the judgement comes in. Quotes included in this story came from the testimonies given in court.

Witnesses and Petitioners were sequestered by the court this week and testimony began with Ken Burns, representative with the RWDSU out of Local 397 in Ohio. He testified that he was contacted by Mrs. Burton and a meeting took place at an out of town restaurant to discuss the benefits of having a Union in the workplace. Other Union meetings were then held at employees' residences and at other local restaurants.

“It’s like night and day. With any Union, you get so much more benefits, get treated a lot more fairly, Supervisors treat you better, compared to non-union jobs”  Ms. Burns said.

Testimony was also heard from the three former employees and other witnesses as well as management.

According to the testimony, "Following rumors spreading of union talk, management at Food City began mandatory “Anti-Union” meetings for all employees to attend."  During the month after these meeting, the three employees were dismissed.

“I was told that I was being let go because they (Food City) didn’t have the 8 hours a month that I was working” said Mrs. Kirk.

Before dismissal, Mrs. Burton had been written up on several occasions, all pertaining to Food City policies, management said.

Martha Smith had no comment at this time.

Witnesses finished their testimonies on Thursday afternoon. The judge will make his decision on the case sometime in April, the court reporter said.


0 #8 Dave Grinder 2011-05-17 13:49
Those who are trying to unionize are best. Ignorant at worst. In this economy the margins for grocery companies are tiny. Unionizing FC workers will put the company out of business. The Smith family won't put up with it...they'll either close it down or sell. There's already been a rumor of Publix buying Food City. And if Publix buys Food City they'll only be interested in a few stores...and I guarantee that they dump the stores in Eastern Kentucky.
0 #7 foocity worker 2011-05-02 20:39
mr burton, dont speak out for me in this matter,you dont work there,and im very sure we dont agree on everything you say an quote, about the company i work for,sure there is no perfect job out there, but it keeps food on my family table, if you want fuss,complain a little about where you work at, an im pretty sure they would fire you also
0 #6 Mark Burton 2011-04-26 13:46
My wife is her own person and she has said plenty when it counts, as far as not helping we don't need public approval to win this case because just like you UNKNOWN AUTHOR the people around always hide and never take a stand on things that could help them, thats why this town is so deep in debt and will never recover! And just for the record i was speaking for all the employee's not just her because like so many that live here I care what happens to this town!
0 #5 unknown aurthor 2011-04-17 21:36
mr burton, you have done all the talking an an fussing, over this matter,an your wife has made no comment! maybe if she would not listen to you she would still have her job,stop using the public media, to take your side,because its not working
0 #4 Mark Burton 2011-04-02 21:15
why was this person allowed to post without a name? it says Name required? Is your paper in on this?
0 #3 Mark Burton 2011-04-02 21:14
Unknown Author you are right GOD does know the truth! And your name! These women depended on their jobs at foodcity also but not at the expense of losing their jobs over bogus charges! They worked their for 10 years! The only money they ever wanted was fair wages, insurance and benefits! Foodcity wants people to just take what little they give them and be quiet well I for one applaud these women for standing up for their rights and you won't even post your name?? what have you got to hide??
0 #2 unknown aurthor 2011-04-01 22:47
God knows the truth. And I don't believe these 3 are telling everything just what makes them look good. They are hurting innocent people and Food City is a job that some rely on to feed their families. And they Mrs. Kirk, Mrs. Smith, and Mrs. Burton are just trying to "stir up a stink: and get some money.
0 #1 Mark Burton 2011-03-26 02:57
it's was so funny to sit and listen to the lies the company made up on these three just because they wanted representation and better benefits and pay!

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