Local 400 member Dianne Nokes has a 99 percent membership rate at Shoppers #2344 in Manassas, Va., where she serves as shop steward. Impressive as that is, she recently fought the wrongful termination of two employees and succeeded in winning their jobs back in a matter of days.
“When I sink my teeth into something, I don’t let it go,” said Nokes.
Day in and day out, stewards like Dianne Nokes provide the most powerful evidence there is why joining Local 400 is the best investment anyone can make in his or her future.
When two Local 400 members were terminated from Shoppers #2344 last month, Nokes took action immediately and investigated the case. She quickly discovered that the workers’ alleged offenses were not grounds for dismissal.
Shoppers assistant managers reviewed security videotapes and found that one of the workers was on the clock ringing up the other for a personal groceries purchase while off duty. The managers wrote up the workers for being “dishonest” and terminated their employment. However, Nokes viewed the security tape herself and found ample evidence that both workers should be rehired immediately.
“They were doing things out of policy that they were unaware of due to lack of training, they weren’t being ‘dishonest,’” said Nokes. “Not following policy is not a terminable offense.”
“Dianne is a leader and an exemplary union steward,” said Jordan Humphrey, Local 400 representative. “She is exactly what Local 400 needs going into this new era.”
Nokes kept Humphrey informed throughout the entire process as well as her store manager.
“Having a good working relationship with your store manager is crucial,” said Nokes. “It definitely helps the process run smoother and allows me to have a heads up when problems surface.”
Nokes contacted the director of labor relations at Shoppers Food and Pharmacy, Julie McWilliams, and explained what had happened. McWilliams immediately called the security guard, who viewed the videotape prior, to provide a favorable statement for the workers.
By successfully communicating with her representative, store manager, and McWilliams, Nokes was able to get the workers back to work in the store.
“Dianne took immediate action,” said one of the workers. “It’s wonderful knowing that someone in the store is there to represent each of us.
“She even came in on her day off and after her shifts were over to meet with security to review the tapes in order to get everything handled,” said the worker. “She put me and the other worker first.”
Following this incident, Nokes has been reminding her coworkers and fellow members to remember to ask for union representation when in a meeting with management.
“In one of the meetings there were three members of management and a security officer,” said Nokes. “With all that pressure, the worker forgot to ask for union representation.
“The problem could have been handled right then and there had they asked for me to attend the meeting,” said Nokes.