Safeway bargaining lasts two years … for six bakers


At two Portland-area stores, it took Bakers Local 114 and Safeway more than two years to negotiate a first union contract — for six bakery workers. Ratified unanimously, the agreement takes wages from $18.50 to $21.03 an hour for bakers and from $19 to $21.53 an hour for cake decorators. Safeway will also pay into the Bakery and Confectionery Union and Industry International Pension Fund starting January 2025.

Local 114 represents bakery workers at 15 Portland-area Safeway stores, and most are covered under an area master agreement. But Local 114 Business Agent Taylor Almond said Safeway demanded separate agreements after three new units voted in 2021 to join Local 114: 8145 SW Barbur Blvd. in Portland; 8255 SW Wilsonville Rd. in Wilsonville; and 401 S. Roosevelt Drive in Seaside.

Then Safeway stalled negotiations, Almond said. Company labor relations managers came and went.

“We went through four different negotiators,” Almond said. Local 114 filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in June 2023 accusing Safeway of refusing to set meeting dates. The following month, Safeway’s lead negotiator shocked Almond with the news that Safeway no longer recognized Local 114 as the representative for two of the three bakery departments because workers at the Seaside and Wilsonville stores had signed union authorization cards with the union that represents other grocery workers, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555.

Almond learned that Local 555 had collected the union cards in January 2023 and that Safeway had voluntarily recognized Local 555 without notifying Local 114 — even though company negotiators met with the bakers union at least twice after the cards were signed. Local 555 did not return a call from the Labor Press seeking explanation.

With two unions now claiming to represent the workers at two of the three in-store bakeries Almond had been negotiating for, the NLRB scheduled new union elections at the stores in October to determine which union workers wanted. The Wilsonville workers chose Local 114, and the Seaside workers opted for Local 555.

Local 114 continued bargaining for the Wilsonville and Barbur Boulevard stores, and Barbur workers began making strike plans for the week of Thanksgiving, one of the bakery’s busiest times of year.

One day after workers circulated fliers in the Barbur store about the strike, Safeway management called Almond seeking a bargaining date before the holiday. The two sides reached tentative agreement Monday of Thanksgiving week for a contract to cover the Barbur and Wilsonville stores — under mostly the same terms as Local 114’s master agreement covering the other Portland-area Safeway bakeries.


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