Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: New Seasons Workers United
November 1, 2017
New Seasons Workers United
Workers at the fast-growing grocery chain New Seasons Market announced Wednesday they are organizing to win a union in response to healthcare rollbacks, deteriorating safety conditions and pressures to work while sick imposed by the company following its purchase by the private equity firm Endeavour Capital in 2009.
At a rally outside the chain’s Williams store in Northeast Portland Wednesday, dozens of workers from New Seasons Market, joined by local community leaders and residents, detailed how the company has silenced its employees’ voice on the job. Earlier in the day, workers delivered a letter to New Seasons Market President and CEO Wendy Collie asking management to meet with employees about improving working conditions in the stores and to agree to a Code of Conduct respecting workers’ right to organize.
“We know New Seasons wants to be a leader in the community, and that means giving workers a seat at the table and respecting our input on the job – not silencing workers the way Walmart or McDonald’s does,” said Isaac Byrd, a worker at New Seasons Market. “We are organizing to win a union so that we can have a say in how we’re treated on the job. By working together, we can help New Seasons live up to its founding principles to ensure that the workers and company both succeed.”
In October, New Seasons eliminated health insurance for nearly 150 employees by increasing the number of hours required for part time workers to receive coverage. When the company was founded in 2000, all employees had access to healthcare benefits regardless of how many hours they worked.
New Seasons has also implemented policies that disproportionately hurt working parents and often require employees to work while sick. In recent years, New Seasons has reduced staffing levels, which increases the risk of health and safety violations and accidents such as knife injuries, back strains, slips and falls, burns from hot oil and steam, and undercooked food. The company also does not provide tools and resources for older or differently-abled workers to safely complete their work.
Defend Healthcare: Yes on Measure 101
The Oregon AFL-CIO is proud to have joined over 60 organizations in endorsing Measure 101 for a healthy Oregon. Measure 101 is a game-changer: It guarantees healthcare for Oregon’s most vulnerable – children, seniors and people with disabilities – who otherwise wouldn’t be able to see a nurse or doctor when they get sick. The stakes have never been higher: 350,000 Oregonians rely on the funding that Measure 101 secures in order to keep their healthcare. We hope you’ll join us in voting YES on Measure 101 for healthcare this January.
If you agree that every Oregonian deserves healthcare, no matter who they are or where they work, please commit to voting yes by clicking here, and commit to volunteering to help pass Measure 101 by clicking here.
Standing Strong in Iowa
If you were at the 2017 Oregon AFL-CIO Convention in September, you may remember one of the guest speakers, AFSCME Council 61 President Danny Homan, speaking about the struggle of workers in Iowa to maintain a strong union movement despite repeated attacks on their freedom to stand together.
This week, we’re happy to bring some good news from Iowa: Nearly 28,500 workers have voted to recertify their unions. Only 624 voted against it.
Why do workers in Iowa have to vote for recertification? Click here to get the full story about what can happen when corporate backed politicians rig the rules against working people.
Labor Gives Thanks in Central Oregon
The Central Oregon Labor Chapter (COLC) is hosting a Thanksgiving Meal on Thursday November 16th to both celebrate the Central Oregon Labor community and serve the Central Oregon homeless community. Please come and bring your family — we only ask that you bring a nonperishable food item to donate to a local Food Bank and to come hungry!
Thursday, November 16 at 6:30PM
Bend Church, 80 NW Bond Street in Bend