Mountaire employees who are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 27 union voted to remove the union Thursday.
The mail-in ballots were counted on Thursday afternoon at the NLRB regional office in Baltimore. The vote count was 356-80. The vote is expected to be officially certified on December 23rd.
“After 44 years of union representation, the Selbyville plant takes a huge step forward today,” stated Phillip Plylar, president of Mountaire Farms. “Our employees have just been asking for their voices to be heard, and today, they were heard loud and clear.”
A Selbyville employee filed a petition in October to decertify the union. The mail-in ballot was sent to employees in November and had to be received by the NLRB by Thursday at 3 pm. The effort was championed by a Washington-DC-area right-to-work group.
Last summer, an employee asked for decertification of the UFCW but were denied the option due to objections to the process that took place during the Covid pandemic. A mail-in ballot was held but the union filed challenges and ultimately, the NLRB threw out the vote. This fall was the first opportunity employees asked for an election.
Selbyville is the only processing plant owned by Mountaire Farms with union representation. Unions have been part of the plant since it was purchased by Mountaire in 1977.
Privately-held Mountaire is headquartered in Delaware. It is owned by an Arkansas family and describes itself as a “Jesus Centered” company.
Unions have never made major inroads in the poultry processing industry in Delmarva. A Maryland lawsuit claims companies have conspired to hold down wages in an industry that has a workforce largely comprised of recent immigrants.