Grocery stores, union ratify new contract after 16 tense months

Oregon

The contract was ratified on Friday night

A sign outside a Fred Meyer store in Portland, September 9, 2019 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, the union representing several major grocery store employees, has officially ratified a new 3-year labor contract with local grocery stores after 16 long months of tense negotiations.

The new contract includes a 20-hour weekly guarantee, wage increases, health and welfare additions as well as improved vacation requests and protections.

“Finally having a fair process to change departments not only gives me financial freedom but emotional freedom because I feel more respected at work,” said Ann Poff, a Safeway employee.

The contract was ratified on Friday night, with what the union called a “sizeable majority.”

“In standing together and demonstrating our solidarity and determination, we won this historic contract by being union strong,” said Dan Clay, Local 555 President.

“We couldn’t have done it without our communities coming together to stand with us: from shoppers to elected officials to workers’ rights activists who demonstrated their support,” he said. “Local 555 members: we are all the union, and we together make the difference.”

The contract ratification comes after widespread dissatisfaction among Oregon and Southwest Washington employees that led to an eventual strike authorization.

The strike did not end up happening, but a boycott was ultimately called on Sept. 22. The boycott of all regional Fred Meyer stores slowed negotiations even further. It was the first economic action taken by the union.

KOIN 6 News will continue to cover this story.

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