Former produce employee claims he was unjustly fired after trying to unionize
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Alexis Fernandez
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A former employee fired from Ron's Produce company says it's not telling the truth about why it closed.
"I was surprised because I never heard that mentioning or even considering him retiring within the next year... this happened all of a sudden when we were organizing and trying to get the union at Ron's Produce," said Ismael Garcia.
Garcia filed a complaint against the company with the National Labor Relations Board several weeks before he was fired for insubordination.
"The working environment was really hostile, I mean we couldn't say anything, couldn't do anything, ask questions or do anything because if it was on our behalf we would get reprimanded," he said.
He believes he was fired because he was trying to unionize.
"We just wanted a better working environment for all the employees, better benefits, better wages, there's been employees that have not received raises in two to three years, I think that was unfair," he said.
The shutdown left sixty people without jobs and businesses like Mama's Famous Pizza and Heros scrambling.
"We hadn't heard anything about it, called to place an order the night before which we regularly do and didn't know we weren't receiving it until the next morning when we were expecting it," said Joe Spina, manager at Mama's Famous Pizza & Heros.
He says it seemed foreign that Ron's Produce would close after being in business for more than forty years.
Lynette Kay Nino, the former human resources director with Ron's Produce declined an on-camera interview but did tell us by phone that working conditions were fair at the company.
She also told us she was unaware of any union activity going on.
Nine On Your Side also tried to contact Ron Sternberg, the owner of the company who declined to comment and hung up the phone.