By COLIN STAUB
New Seasons Labor Union won five elections covering about 650 workers in 2022, and workers at two more stores will vote in the coming weeks.
In the most recent election, workers at the Portland-headquartered grocery chain’s Concordia store (5320 NE 33rd Ave.) voted 94-16 to unionize, with ballots counted Dec. 16. With about 175 eligible workers there at the time of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filing, Concordia is the largest New Seasons branch to organize yet.
Workers at all five stores unionized with the New Seasons Labor Union (NSLU), a labor organization that formed in mid-2022 at the Seven Corners store on Southeast Division Street.
Two union campaigns at New Seasons stores were unsuccessful in 2022, one by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 at Orenco Station in Hillsboro, and one by NSLU in Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood.
Up next: Workers at the Arbor Lodge New Seasons (6400 N. Interstate Ave.) will vote in person on Jan. 12 and 13, and workers at the Cedar Hills store (3495 SW Cedar Hills Blvd. in Beaverton) will vote Jan. 26 and 27.
With the new year, New Seasons management is removing a COVID-19 sick leave policy. The company had been allowing workers experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to stay home from work, even if they lacked the paid time off (PTO) to cover the absence. But workers say the company will end that policy and treat COVID-19 like any other illness. If workers don’t have the PTO to cover an absence, they could face a penalty for missing work. NSLU has requested to bargain over this change at the unionized stores. Bargaining a first contract is set to begin this month.
Unionizing and independently is a good sign. Non union people can see the benefits of independent unionizing.