Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: Boycott at Fred Meyer
September 25, 2019
Boycott at Fred Meyer
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 has called for a boycott of specific departments of Fred Meyer stores due to unfair labor practices by the employer.
Local 555 issued a press release over the weekend which details the reason for the boycott:
Following fifteen+ months of tense labor negotiations in which Fred Meyer/Kroger continually refused to respond to reasonable pleas to fix gross inequity in pay and thereafter committed unfair labor practices to coerce employees to settle for less, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 is calling on consumers to boycott, effective immediately, all Fred Meyer departments in Oregon and SW Washington where employees are now working without a labor contract. (Click here for departmental details.)
As Jeff Anderson, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 555 states, “If Fred Meyer won’t listen to workers’ voices, perhaps they will listen to the sound of departments devoid of shoppers.”
The Union’s call for a consumer boycott is the first economic action taken by the Union in response to Fred Meyer’s unfair labor practices, as well as an effort to highlight Fred Meyer’s refusal to address livable wages for its workers, and its disinterest in closing the gender equity gap by more than a dime a year.
Click here to read Local 555’s full press release and stay tuned for more ways to get involved in this important fight.
United: A Strong Future for Oregon’s Workers
The 56th Convention of the Oregon AFL-CIO adjourned on Sunday, and by all accounts it was a successful event! Here are some highlights from Convention:
New Officers, Renewed Mission
One of the biggest events of this convention was a passing of the torch from retiring Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain and Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Byrd to newly elected officers.
Taking the helm of our federation is Graham Trainor, who will be the youngest elected President in Oregon AFL-CIO history. Christy O’Neill, an AFSCME-represented Head Start teacher from Southern Oregon will serve as Secretary-Treasurer. Trainor has worked for the Oregon AFL-CIO since 2008, most recently as the Chief of Staff for the federation. Trainor and O’Neill were unanimously elected by the convention delegates.
“It’s an honor to carry on the tradition of fierce advocacy for workers that Tom instilled in our organization,” said Trainor. “The Oregon AFL-CIO will continue to be a strong voice for Oregon’s workers, and we are determined to adapt to the changing reality of the fight for justice for all Oregonians. The future of our movement is bright, bold and inclusive. We will fight for any worker dreaming of a better life, regardless of who they love, the country they were born in or the color of their skin. We will continue to do what Tom and Barbara have done for the past 14 years: Set the bar high and fight like hell for working people.”
The 56th Convention of the Oregon AFL-CIO included the passage of official resolutions which will guide the state federation’s work for the next two years and include some very important topics.
“This year, our convention is about making the labor movement a place where all working people feel welcome,” remarked Trainor. “It’s about intersectionality, finding the crossroads of our struggles, and looking for opportunities for our movement to be a resource and an advocate for all workers. We had a panel discussion and a resolution about the Time’s Up movement and fighting workplace sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as the need to meet workers who identify as transgender and gender nonconforming on their own terms and be an inclusive movement for ALL workers. We resolved to continue our fight for the rights of new Americans and those fighting an immigration system that is only set up for their failure, and to revitalize our efforts of embracing any worker looking for a better life by supporting new and innovative organizing strategies. We took important steps forward to chart a path in our fight for workers facing a challenging, precarious 21st century economy. We marched and picketed, stood together and after adjournment I can tell you for certain: The coming years are going to be busy and exciting for Oregon’s unions. We have a lot of ground to cover, and thanks to the leadership of Tom, Barbara and our affiliated unions, we’re ready for the fights ahead.”
Endorsing Senator Jeff Merkley
Following a riveting speech to our convention attendees, delegates unanimously voted to endorse U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley for his 2020 reelection campaign. Click here to read our full press statement about this important endorsement.
In response to the anti-worker Public Employee Retirement System attack in SB 1049 and the failure to pass other key pro-worker priorities, the 56th Convention of the Oregon AFL-CIO voted to support workers. Our convention passed a resolution to restrict contributions and support for those lawmakers who turned their back on firefighters, nurses, educators, and all workers during the 2019 Legislative Session. Click here to learn more.
Taking Action in the North Coast
On Saturday, over 200 delegates and guests took to the streets of Warrenton and Astoria to stand up and speak out for workers at Fred Meyer and at Columbia Memorial Hospital. Delegates were excited to take action in support of grocery workers who are facing a gap in pay between female and male employees, and to support the nurses of Columbia Memorial Hospital who are fighting for a fair contract.
We have organized actions at Fred Meyer stores around the state as part of the Fix the Gap campaign, which calls on Fred Meyer management to cease the practice of disproportionately placing women onto a lower pay schedule. In Warrenton, participants held a flash mob inside the store while others picketed and marched outside. Click here to see the video from this exciting event.
Following the action at Fred Meyer, participants joined nurses from the Oregon Nurses Association at Columbia Memorial Hospital to march in downtown Astoria. Nurses at the hospital are calling for a consistent schedule as well as a guaranteed voice in the number of patients assigned to a nurse. Hospital administration will not come to the bargaining table. The last mediation session was August 23. Bargaining was set to resume on September 17, but administration did not show up. The nurses’ contract expired on May 31.
“The North Coast community does not deserve this kind of treatment by the hospital administration,” said Nicholas Bowling, vice chairperson of the negotiations team and a nurse at CMH. “Their unwillingness to bargain is compromising the care of our patients. We will not back down on our demand for contract protections that guarantee our nurses a voice in setting safe staffing levels.”
Holding Timothy Nesbitt Accountable
Former Oregon AFL-CIO President Timothy Nesbitt has made a name for himself by peddling anti-worker “solutions” to the Public Employee Retirement System. Our convention decided to take a stand, here’s what former President Tom Chamberlain said of the resolution to sanction Nesbitt:
Timothy Nesbitt has continued to exploit his past role as a union leader to give clout to his anti-public worker PERS Solutions organization that continually misconstrues false solutions as facts. We have had enough. He does not speak for workers, and henceforth, he will be excluded from any future Oregon AFL-CIO event and in no uncertain terms we condemn his actions against working people.
New Podcast Episode!
Our latest episode is up! This episode features a panel discussion from our convention, which covers the importance of using a workers’ preferred pronouns and how unions can embrace this step toward greater inclusivity. Click here to listen today.