No Evil Foods Tries to Hide Union Busting
The company is filing fake copyright claims to get their anti-union meeting removed from the internet
No Evil Foods is a socialist themed vegan food product that is sold in 5,500 stores nationwide including Whole Foods. While a company like that might seem like the perfect place to organize, bosses at the company are being accused of union-busting and bullying to prevent their workforce from having a voice at work.
The whole process started when workers at the Weaverville, North Carolina plant announced they wanted to form a union and join the the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). After this announcement was made, management forced the workers to sit through multiple captive audience meetings where management railed against unions and told the employees to vote no. No Evil Food’s CEO and co-founder Mike Woliansky said joining the UFCW was “hitching your wagon to a huge organization with high paid executives and a history of scandal and supporting slaughterhouses. I don’t think that’s an organization you want to support with your dues money."
The fake socialist company sells fake meat products with names straight out of the Cold War, including Comrade Cluck" (a chicken substitute seasoned with garlic and onion), and "El Zapatista" (a mock chorizo), a reference to Mexico’s anti-capitalist indigenous movement.
During one of the meetings, an employee began recording Woliansky and sent the 23-minute video around, including to freelance journalist Andrew Miller. It was later published in Motherboard, In These Times, Industrial Worker, and the podcasts Dixieland of the Proletariat and Working People. However, after the video was published, No Evil Foods began bullying these news outlets, filing complaints to get it taken down. According to VICE, complaints were filed with Youtube, Soundcloud, Libsyn and Hostgator claiming that the content violated copyright and privacy protections.
It has come to my attention that the following content hosted on your server Infringes on our employees' copyright and privacy rights
Content can be found here:
on the podcast called "working people" with the sublabel "Mo' Evil Foods" posted on August 24, 2020
This is an Unauthorized sound recording of speeches Mark McPeak, Sadrah Schadel, & Michael Woliansky gave their employees at No Evil Foods at various points in time. The are the only persons speaking in these unauthorized recording. They wrote and spoke the contents, thus each clip was authored by Mark McPeak, Sadrah Schadel, & Michael Woliansky of No Evil Foods respectively
I hereby state that I have a good faith belief that the disputed use of the copyrighted material is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law (e.g., as a fair use). I hereby state that the information in this notice is accurate and, under penalty of perjury, that I am the owner, or authorized to act on behalf of, the owner, of the copyright or of an exclusive right under the copyright that is allegedly infringed.
Please remove this content from your servers. This content uses an unauthorized recording and should be removed immediately.
If prompt attention to this matter is not made, we reserve the right to explore all options including taking prompt legal action.
No Evil Foods, LLC
108 Monticello Rd Suite 2000
Weaverville, NC 28787
UCOMM spoke with one podcast host, Max Alvarez host of the Working People podcast, who had his show taken down by Libsyn. On his latest episode, Alvarez spoke to four former No Evil Foods employees and included the audio in his podcast. After he published the show, No Evil Foods demanded that Libsyn, a podcast hosting platform that UCOMM Live also uses, take down the show which Libsyn did. According to the complaint a Rachel Woliansky, sent the complaint, although she signed it “Birdie Gregson”, the name a former employee uses on Twitter. In the complaint, the company claimed that since the speakers wrote their own content the material was copyrighted and not allowed to be put out publicly.
This is a common bullying tactic among union-busting companies. Lowe’s previously used this against UCOMM to force Youtube to remove a training video that the company shows workers on the “evils” of joining a union.
However, Alvarez wasn’t willing to accept the actions of Libsyn sitting down. He immediately contacted the company and said that the video and audio was fair use since it was recorded by the employees with their own personal property instead of company resources. To their credit, Libsyn followed up on the complaint and contacted the Woliansky. When they received no response, Libsyn deemed the complaint fraudulent and put the episode back up. "I am shocked / saddened to see a company apparently file a fraudulent takedown notice,” said Rob Walch, VP of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn, in an email to Alvarez.
However not everyone has been so fortunate. According to an email from Miller, No Evil Foods filed a similar complaint with his hosting company, HostGator, who suspended his website. The website is still down. In his response to HostGator, Miller notes that North Carolina is a one-party consent state and since the person recording the video was a party to the meeting that would be enough for one-party consent.
“No Evil Foods, through this moniker of “Birdie Gregson” has been bullying websites and social media accounts with these infringement claims for several months now in an effort to hide from its actions taken against workers,” said Miller. “There is currently two National Labor Relation Board cases being adjudicated at this time as well for the actions No Evil Foods has taken against workers at its Weaverville, NC plant.”
This kind of bullying by the anti-union companies needs to stop. They know that most people won’t go through the struggle of fighting behemoth companies like Youtube, limiting any exposure the company might have. Instead, we need to spread it far and wide, especially when a “liberal or progressive” company takes part in union-busting and censorship. Miller and Alvarez are also looking at legal options they may have to prevent companies from doing this in the future.
Now that it has been restored on Libsyn, you can check out Working People’s Mo Evil Foods episode by clicking here.