For immediate release
Sisters’ Camelot management admits to dishonesty about fired worker at
The trial to seek a court order for IWW Sisters Camelot Canvass Union
member shugE Mississippi to be rehired and be awarded back pay took place
this past week on June 6 & 7. Both sides called witnesses and
cross-examined them in a courtroom in front of an administrative law judge
at the Minneapolis NLRB office.
The most surprising testimonies came when NLRB lawyers representing shugE
Mississippi cross-examined Sisters’ Camelot managing collective member
Eric Gooden and ex-managing collective member Clay Hansen.
Near the end of the trial’s first day Eric Gooden admitted under oath that
shugE Mississippi was never fired from Sisters’ Camelot in 2009,
contradicting a claim given in the written statement approved by the
managing collective and read aloud on the March 4th, 2013 when shugE
Mississippi’s contract was terminated. Gooden also clarified in testimony
that the language of the firing statement did mean to assert that shugE
Mississippi was fired in 2009, which clarifies that the managing
collective approved lying publicly about the events of 2009. Gooden
continued to admit under oath that if it were not for the demands of the
workers union shugE Mississippi would not have been fired in March of
The following day Clay Hansen, a former Sisters’ Camelot managing
collective member who quit the organization during the strike, testified
under oath that to his knowledge shugE Mississippi did nothing that
warranted being fired between February 25 when the workers union went
public to the bosses and March 4 when he was publicly fired. Clay Hansen
continued to testify that to his knowledge shugE Mississippi did nothing
that warranted being fired any time during Hansen’s entire time working at
Sisters Camelot starting in spring of 2011 and ending in April of 2013.
This testimony is especially important since the March 4th public
statement which fired shugE Mississippi not only wrongfully asserted that
he had been fired in 2009 as justification but also claimed his behavior
was disruptive in the workplace since returning to Sisters’ Camelot in
“It feels so good to finally have the truth on public record. The
management of Sisters’ Camelot lied about me ever being fired in 2009, and
they lied again when they claimed I was being fired in 2013 for anything
other than union activity. Now we have this admitted under oath by one of
the bosses and I feel so much relief to have these lies exposed in a way
that cannot be refuted”, stated shugE Mississippi.
Sisters’ Camelot’s attorney, John C. Hauge, a notorious far right wing
union busting lawyer, gave up attempting to prove the firing was not based
on activity. Instead Hauge focused on technicalities. These included
arguing the canvassers were not covered under the National Labor Relations
Act. The Labor Board had found merit with the Unfair Labor Practices
because it found the canvassers to be misclassified as Independent
Contractors instead of employees. Additionally, Hauge attempted to argue
Sisters’ Camelot did not engage in interstate commerce and therefore would
not be covered under the NLRA.
Union member Bobby Becker was asked about the overall trial and stated, “I
feel great about what happened in that court room and am really hopeful
that the judge will rule in shugE’s favor. One great thing to realize
about this trial is that even if the judge rules against us, we still win
the moral argument because they’ll just be getting off on a technicality.
When the transcripts of this trial become public record in ten days,
nobody will ever be able to argue again that shugE was fired for any other
reason than retaliation for union organizing.”
The Sisters’ Camelot Canvass Union has been on strike over 100 days now.
The campaign represents a new step for Food and Retail Workers United, an
organizing committee of the Industrial Workers of the World labor union.
Gaining prominence in recent years for organizing Starbucks and Jimmy
Johns workers, the IWW is a global union founded over a century ago for
all working people.