By Don McIntosh
Workers at Grand Central Baking’s Northwest Portland wholesale bakery ratified their first ever union contract March 1 after more than a year of negotiations and 14 months after they voted to join Bakers Local 114.
The agreement includes an immediate 1.25% raise plus three annual raises of 2.25% on July 1 of 2021, 2022, and 2023. It also mandates overtime pay for any hours over 8.5 worked in a day. [A state law requires time-and-a-half pay in manufacturing jobs after 10 hours in a day, and Local 114’s contract with Franz Bakery provides it after 7.5 hours.] The contract also lays out a clear wage progression: At the outset, pay for new hires starts at $17 an hour and rises to $18.25 an hour 180 days later; lead bakers will make $21.79.
The agreement replaces “at will” employment status with a “just cause” disciplinary process that includes a grievance process to challenge unjustified discipline. And a labor-management committee composed of shop stewards, managers and union reps will address persistent concerns about sexual harassment in the workplace.
Company-provided health insurance remains the same, as does the company’s no-match 401(k) retirement savings plan.
The vote came a month after workers voted to reject an earlier tentative agreement. After the two sides returned to bargaining, Grand Central increased its proposed annual raises by 0.25%.
The contract vote took place at the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 40 hall one block from the bakery.
When Grand Central’s wholesale bakery unionized in a 29-to-9 vote December 2019, it employed 44 workers, but the pandemic cut back operations at the company’s neighborhood cafes, and sales dropped about 20%. About a third of the workers left or were laid off; 31 remain.
The new contract runs through June 30, 2024.