August 7, 2009 Volume 110 Number 15

Fred Meyer goes green?

Bob Childers and Shell Sherman, international reps for the Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons Union, handbilled the Hawthorne Fred Meyer store in Southeast Portland Aug. 1 during the store’s grand re-opening celebration. Several stores in the Portland metro area are undergoing extensive remodeling, with the Hawthorne location touted as the “first green grocery in the chain.” Union officials say that may be true — but not how you might think.

“We contend the only green that Fred Meyer is concerned about is economical, not environmental,” Childers said. Union officials assert that Portland-headquartered Fred Meyer and its corporate owner Kroger Co. of Cincinnati are cutting corners on remodeling by using out-of-state contractors who pay workers $12 an hour with virtually no fringe benefits — far below area standards set by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Cement Masons and Electrical Workers locals are leading the campaign against Fred Meyer, but they have strong support from other construction unions. The unions are also seeking boycott sanction from the Northwest Oregon Labor Council. The unions are asking people to protest Fred Meyer’s action by calling company president Mike Ellis at 503 232-8844.

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