March 13 2013 12:00 AM

United Peckham Employee Group members wanted to draw attention to what they claim are unfair labor practices by the Lansing-based Peckham Industries

Tuesday, June 12 — Four organizers with the United Peckham employees union held banners and signs outside an annual golf outing expressing no love for Peckham Industries and how the union feels they’re treating employees.

The targeted event was the Peckham Community Partnership Foundation annual golf outing and fundraiser.

United Peckham organizers have been trying to organize an employee union within the non-profit garment manufacturer for several months. They claim Peckham pays unfair wages to employees and is taking advantage of the disabled people that are hired. Union organizers have filed grievances with the National Labor Relations Board claiming Peckham is actively engaged in union busting activities.

“Inside the plant they are vigorously organizing an anti-union group,” said Mike Kolhoff, an organizer with United Peckham. “The administration is targeting union organizers for layoffs and suspensions, removing pro-union materials from public bulletin boards and interrogating workers on whether they support the union or not.”

The Sugar Law Center has expressed interest in helping out United Peckham with their claims, Kolhoff said.

Brian Owens worked at Peckham as a garment sewer for two years before being laid off on May 4. He believes he was laid off and not asked to return because he was a key organizer with United Peckham.

As one car was leaving the golf course the driver rolled down his window and argued that Peckham provides jobs to disabled people that normally wouldn’t be able to find employment. So why protest?

“That’s what they want you to think,” Owens responded. “I worked there. I know they take advantage of people.”

Peckham officials have denied that layoffs were a response to the unionization effort.