Tate’s Bake Shop Workers Reject Bid to Unionize

Tate's Bake Shop factory in East Moriches may soon be a union shop. (Photo by Barbara Lassen)

Tate’s Bake Shop workers have voted down a bid to unionize the Southampton-based cookie company after some workers and labor leaders accused management of trying to intimidate immigrant staffers with deportation threats. 

The National Labor Relations Board found May 13 that 354 of Tate’s East Moriches-based factory workers voted against joining Amalgamated Local 298 AFL-CIO, a Valley Stream-based union that represents workers in manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and other industries. Twelve voted to join the union and 37 ballots were contested. 

“We are very pleased with the outcome and the results are a testament to our long track record of providing good jobs with competitive pay and benefits,” a spokesman for Tate’s said in a statement. “We are proud that our employees have made it clear that they want to continue their direct and positive engagement with Tate’s management.”

The union is challenging the results.

“The Eastern States Joint Board has filed an injunction against the results of the vote with the National Labor Relations Board,” Cosmo Lubrano, Vice President, Eastern States Joint Board, said in a statement. “There is mounting evidence to suggest that the integrity of the vote was compromised by possible voter intimidation and interference by Tate’s during the voting period. The alleged illegal and irregular behavior by Tate’s during this vote has been the subject of a Congressional inquiry.

“Our union will continue to fight for a fair workplace for Tate’s employees and believe that these results do not reflect the true intentions of this workforce,” the statement continued. “This is not a certified election, and will not be final until our many objections and complaints are investigated by the National Labor Relations Board.”

Tate’s was founded by Kathleen King, who got her start selling the popular homemade cookies at an East End farm stand in the 1970s. King sold the company for $500 million in 2018 to Illinois-based Mondelēz International, Inc., the parent company of Oreo, Nabisco, Ritz and other snacks, which reported $27 billion in revenue last year.

Some workers who were concerned about conditions at the East Moriches-based factory during the coronavirus pandemic reached out to the union, which initiated a campaign to unionize. During the campaign, some workers alleged that management told staffers that if they unionize, their immigration status would be reviewed, potentially resulting in deportation. The company denied the allegations.

“For more than 20 years, Tate’s Bake Shop has been committed to fostering an inclusive, supportive and caring workplace for everyone in our Tate’s family,” the company said. “We know that as popular as our brand is, the true ingredient for Tate’s success has less to do with what’s inside the cookie bag than who is creating those delicious treats.”

Related Story: Southampton’s Tate’s Bake Shop Accused of Using Deportation Threat to Intimidate Workers Seeking to Unionize

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