Grocery workers called for a public boycott of Fred Meyers on Sunday. On Monday, the state Democratic Party came out publicly supporting the boycott.
The UFCW and Fred Meyer management are at odds over worker pay, closing gender pay inequities, and righting unfair labor practices. After a 15-month labor negotiation, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 issued their statement calling for customers to boycott Oregon and South Western Washington Fred Meyer stores.
“Fred Meyer/Kroger continually refused to respond to reasonable pleas to fix gross inequity in pay,” the statement read, “and thereafter committed unfair labor practices to coerce employees to settle for less.”
On Monday, the Oregon Democratic Party released a statement standing with workers and supporting the boycott.
“Our union allies are on the front lines of the struggle for livable wages and better working conditions,” KC Hanson, chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon, said in a statement. “The Democratic Party of Oregon is proud to stand with workers from UFCW Local 555 in their fight for a fair contract.”
The UCFW is asking for customers to boycott Fred Meyer stores until “reasonable contract settlements” are made by management.
Fred Meyer officials released a statement on Sunday which said, “The truth is that these actions don’t help the negotiation process at all and calls to boycott Fred Meyer hurt associates and their families, customers and communities and ironically helps competitors, many of which are non-union.”
Union spokeswoman Kelley McAllister told The Statesman Journal, last month Salem-area workers voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of authorizing a strike.
In case of a strike, UCFW Local 555 wants to make sure that customers are taken care of. McAllister told the Statesman Journal, “We never want to leave our customers in the lurch.”
Bargaining will continue between union and grocery store officials on September 26-27. UCFW Local 555 plans to release an update on September 28.
By Mariah Price