By COLIN STAUB
Workers at two Northeast Portland grocery stores launched union campaigns with the New Seasons Labor Union this month. They’re the fifth and sixth stores to organize with the independent union.
The union asked the National Labor Relations Board to hold elections covering a group of 176 workers at the Concordia store (5320 NE 33rd Ave.) and 110 workers at the Grant Park store (3210 NE Broadway St.). Election dates haven’t been set yet.
The latest campaigns come as elections are underway at New Seasons stores in Northwest Portland, where ballots will be counted Oct. 20 (after this issue went to press), and Woodstock, where election dates haven’t been set. Altogether, 523 workers are covered by those four stores.
In September, the independent union won its first election at the Seven Corners market on Southeast Division Street, making it the first location to unionize since New Seasons was founded in 1999. Also in September, the union lost an election at the Sellwood store, and United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 lost an election at the Hillsboro location.
Management has responded to the campaigns with fliers, mailers and a dedicated anti-union section of the company’s website. The site rebuts points made by the union, reminds workers of the company’s “progressive practices,” and even hosts videos specific to each store’s election with detailed instructions on how to vote.
The company has retained Ogletree Deakins, a well-known anti-union law firm. But New Seasons hasn’t gone as far as it did during the 2017 union effort, when management paid a union busting consultant $325,855 to hold anti-union meetings.