UFCW reaches tentative deal after 6-day grocery boycott

Six days after calling on the public to boycott Fred Meyer, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 announced tentative agreement with grocery employers on new union contracts covering about 20,000 workers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. The deal was reached about 9 a.m. Sept. 28 after negotiations that lasted through the previous night.

Local 555 isn’t publicly releasing details of the agreement until members have had a chance to see it and vote on it.

“We are now asking all of our supporters to cease the boycott and resume their normal shopping habits, including shopping at Fred Meyer,” the union said in its public statement. Local 555 had issued the boycott call Sept. 22, the day after its final contracts expired.  [While the contracts remained in force, they committed the union not to strike or take other economic action such as a boycott.]

The boycott call got substantial local publicity, and anecdotal signs were that it was having an immediate impact on sales at Fred Meyer stores in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Local 555 in it statement said the new contract would not have been possible without community support. The boycott came after 15 months of bargaining in which employers failed to offer hourly raises of more than 30 or 40 cents a year, and failed to address a gendered pay gap the union discovered among Fred Meyer grocery workers.

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